Obama Calls For More Contractor Accountability

By Jennifer Parker

Oct 3, 2007 5:18pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller Reports: While the congress addresses the Blackwater shooting incident this week on Capitol Hill, Senator Barack Obama addressed the issue on the campaign trail in Iowa.

"We cannot win a fight for hearts and minds when we outsource critical missions to unaccountable contractors. To add insult to injury, these contractors are charging taxpayers up to nine times more to do the same jobs as soldiers, a disparity that damages troop morale,” Obama said Wednesday before a crowd at the University of Iowa.

Watch the video HERE.

The Senator said Congress and President Bush should be doing more to hold the contractors in Iraq accountable. He used the stage to unveil his Security Contractor Accountability Plan, which would require contractors to coordinate with the US military to "stop contractors from undermining our mission."

Obama’s plan would increase the accountability that he thinks is currently lost, "Most contractors act like currently the law doesn’t apply to them because it doesn’t. And that has to end. Under my plan when contractors break the law they will be prosecuted," he said.

The Illinois senator’s proposal would also create a permanent unit of the FBI to investigate contractors in Iraq.

The Senate last week passed an amendment authored by Obama which would force the administration to disclose the size and scope of the role of security contractors in Iraq.

Calling the Bush administration’s behavior "completely unacceptable" Obama added: "What’s made this waste and abuse possible has been the absence of leadership and oversight by Washington. Rather than demand accountability the Bush administration has ceded responsibility."

Interrupted by a crying baby in the audience, Obama was quick to play off the disruption, "Yes, I know he’s outraged …it’s terrible," to which the crowd laughed and applauded.

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