US: DOJ Questioned About '05 Iraq Rape Case

Publisher Name: 
AP News

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee asked
the Justice Department on Tuesday to give a full account of its
investigation into the alleged rape of a female contract worker in
Iraq two years ago.




Jamie Leigh Jones, a former Conroe resident, filed a federal lawsuit
in May against Halliburton Co., its former subsidiary, KBR Inc., and
others claiming she was raped by co-workers while working for a
Halliburton subsidiary at Camp Hope, Baghdad, in 2005.




The Associated Press usually does not identify people who say they
have been sexually assaulted, but Jones' face and name have been
broadcast by ABC News and appear on her own Web site.




In a letter dated Tuesday, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., asked
Attorney General Michael Mukasey if his office had investigated
Jones' claims and whether the Justice Department has jurisdiction to
prosecute under military provisions of the USA Patriot Act.




Conyers also seeks clarification on a statement from KBR, the
military contractor that split from Halliburton in April, that says
it had initiated investigations into the alleged assault but later
halted the probe.




KBR has said it was "instructed to cease by government authorities
because they were assuming sole responsibility for the criminal
investigations."




Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said Tuesday the agency was
reviewing Conyers' letter. "The Department is investigating this
matter and because it's an ongoing investigation, we are unable to
comment further," Carr said.




Jones' case got renewed attention this week after ABC News previewed
a report of the allegations it plans to air on "20/20" next month.




Jones began working for KBR as an administrative assistant in 2004
when she was 19, but later transferred to Iraq with another
Halliburton subsidiary, according to her lawsuit.




The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Beaumont, claims Jones
lived in a coed barracks and, after enduring harassment from some of
the men in the quarters, was drugged and raped July 28, 2005. Her
attackers were Halliburton and KBR firefighters, the suit claims.




The petition says the facility was under direct control of the U.S.
government, KBR and Halliburton, collectively.




Jones' attorney, L. Todd Kelly, declined to say where Jones was
living now because she fears for her safety. He declined to
elaborate.




Jones' Web site highlights her nonprofit foundation to help fellow
contract workers who may have been sexually assaulted, and displays
her "therapeutic" still-life paintings that she offers to paint on
commission. The site also mentions a screenplay of her story in Iraq.




In a statement, KBR said it couldn't comment on specifics of the
case but that the safety and security of its employees were its top
priority.




Halliburton says it is improperly named in the matter and expects to
be dismissed from the case. "It would be inappropriate for
Halliburton to comment on the merits of a matter affecting only the
interest of KBR," the oilfield services company said in a statement.




Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, who signed Conyers' letter, sent his own
inquiry to Mukasey on Monday. He said Jones' father contacted his
office after the alleged rape and said his daughter reported
KBR/Halliburton was holding her in a shipping container without food
and water.




Poe said he then contacted the State Department, which dispatched
agents to rescue Jones.




State Department spokesman Sean McCormack declined Tuesday to
comment on specifics of the case, but he confirmed its Bureau of
Diplomatic Security had responded to and investigated the incident.
He said the results were turned over to the Justice Department.


AMP Section Name:War & Disaster Profiteering
  • 15 Halliburton