DOJ Shuns Hearing on Halliburton/KBR Rape Cases
Former Halliburton/KBR Employee Recounts for Congress How She Was Gang-Raped in Iraq
By MADDY SAUER
Dec. 19, 2007
The Department of Justice refused to send a representative to answer questions from Congress today on the investigations into allegations of rape and sexual assault on female American contractors.
"I'm embarrassed that the Department of Justice can't even come forward," said the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee John Conyers, D-Mich.
"This is an absolute disgrace," said Conyers. "The least we could do is have people from the Department of Justice and the Defense over here talking about how we're going to straighten out the system right away."
Among the witnesses who testified today was Jamie Leigh Jones, who appeared on "20/20" last week.
Jones, now 23, says that after she'd been raped by multiple assailants in her room at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, she was warned by company officials that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she'd be out of a job.
To date there has been no prosecution of the men who Jones says gang-raped her.
Jones' congressman, Ted Poe, R-Texas, also testified at the hearing and told the committee how he has not been given any answers as to the status of the investigation by DOJ or the State Department.
"The Department of Justice has not informed Jamie or me of the status of a criminal investigation against her rapist if any investigation exists," Poe said today. "It is interesting to note that the Department of Justice has thousands of lawyers but not one from the barrage of lawyers is here to tell us what if anything they are doing. Their absence and silence speaks volumes about the hidden crimes in Iraq. Their attitude seems to be one of blissful indifference to American workers in Iraq," said Poe.
Jones told Congress that it wasn't until after she was interviewed by "20/20," that an assistant U.S. attorney in Florida questioned her about her case.
"I asked the AUSA, 'Where should I refer victims to contact me?' and she responded, 'Don't refer them to my office, but you may want to refer them to the office of victims of crime,'" Jones recounted for Congress today.
But the Department of Justice Crime Victims office, in a letter to Jamie's lawyer, had already said it had closed out her complaint claiming it did not have jurisdiction.
The Department of Justice, following the hearing, said today that the department is "investigating this matter" but would not elaborate.
Jones has now filed a lawsuit against Halliburton and KBR.
KBR says that in the case of Jones they were quick to offer her support and assistance.
Halliburton says it is improperly named the lawsuit.