Last month, after ABC News reported that former Halliburton/KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones had been gang-raped by her co-workers while working in Baghdad, multiple lawmakers — including Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) — pressed the Bush administration to reveal the state of the case and to explain how an earlier investigation “had not resulted in any prosecution.”
The Bush administration has been anything but cooperative. Both the State and Justice departments refused to give Poe “answers on the status” of the investigation. The DoJ “refused to send a representative” to a Congressional hearing last month, and the State, Defense and Justice departments all missed Nelson’s deadline for answering questions.
Now, the Inspector General of the Department of Defense has written to Nelson and other lawmakers, saying that his agency will not investigate the allegations:
In letters to lawmakers, DoD Inspector General Claude Kicklighter said that because the Justice Department still considers the investigation into Jones’ case open, there is no need for him to look into the matter.
“[T]he U.S. Justice Department has issued a statement that they are investigating the allegations,” wrote Kicklighter’s office to Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who had requested he look into the matter. “No further investigation by this agency into the allegations made by [Jones] is warranted.”
Though Kicklighter is refusing to investigate Jones’ allegations, he did say he would explore ‘whether and why’ a U.S. Army doctor handed to KBR security officials the results” of Jones’ “rape kit,” which then disappeared. Nelson’s office told ABC that the senator is “not satisfied” with Kicklighter’s letter.
Nelson is right to be disappointed, especially since Jones’ assault may not be “an isolated case.”
Former Halliburton/KBR employees have described an atmosphere of “rampant sexual harassment.” Poe has also confirmed that his office has heard from multiple other women who were victims of sexual assault while working for KBR in Iraq.