Sallyport Global is strongly disputing claims two former employees made about company personnel at Balad Air Force Base in Iraq and released documents shedding light on many of the allegations they made in an Associated Press story that ran May 3, 2017.
“The claims made by two former employees paint an inaccurate picture of Sallyport’s operations at Balad,” Sallyport COO Matt Stuckart said. “We have helped turn Balad into an instrumental part of the fight against ISIS. Since taking over operations in January 2014 after another company failed to perform, Sallyport has received excellent performance reviews and our employees have demonstrated remarkable valor in an intense war zone. Shortly after taking over operations, our team at Balad risked life and limb evacuating over 1,500 men and women while leaving behind a security force to successfully defend the base against an ISIS advance.”
New management was installed at Sallyport in January 2016 and immediately undertook a review of all policies and procedures at Balad. This review resulted in several changes, including the appointment of high ranking former military professionals to oversee Sallyport operations at Balad, the installation of a Corporate Ethics and Compliance Officer, and the replacement of many managers at the base.
“These enhancements were put in place to prevent the very kinds of allegations that were raised by these employees, not to conceal them. We continue to look for ways to strengthen our internal oversight capacity and regularly advise U.S. government contracting officers of our efforts, including changes in personnel as well as of any incidents that might occur at Balad,” Stuckart said.
“Unfortunately, these employees presented a selective narrative when speaking to the media which resulted in the ensuing coverage omitting many key points,” Stuckart added. For example:
The same employees quoted in the Associated Press story taking issue with how allegations of prostitution were handled signed and submitted a supplemental report last October concluding that these allegations were “UNFOUNDED” and based on rumors and innuendo. See attached Documents #1 and #2 (names redacted for privacy and security reasons).
Sallyport’s new management issued a policy expressly banning alcohol and tobacco at Balad. The company has not received any allegation that personnel have violated that new policy.
When the company’s new management learned that the company’s own investigators were supposedly told to shut down their investigation into alcohol and prostitution, the new Corporate Ethics and Compliance Officer instructed the investigators to complete those investigations. The new company management would never shut down an internal investigation into serious allegations like prostitution. As noted above, the renewed inquiry by the former employees handling those inquiries found that the allegations of prostitution were unsubstantiated.
An internal investigation into a claim that a vehicle breached the airfield at Balad showed that the breach took place on a service road outside of the airfield, well away from any Iraqi F-16. Sallyport submitted its investigation report to the Base Commander. See attached Document #3 (names redacted for privacy and security reasons).
The article reported on an aircraft being affected in operation, allegedly due to a large amount of smuggled alcohol in water bottles. Standing alone, the allegation that such a large number of water bottles were being smuggled such that it affected the operation of the aircraft is improbable. The company did not receive any reports that an aircraft was compromised.
The article blamed the company for failing to prevent the removal of Iraqi-owned generators from a location on the Balad base that Sallyport does not control or is assigned to protect. The incident was promptly reported to both the Iraqi Base Commander and US government contracting officials. See attached Document #4 (names redacted for privacy and security reasons).
Sallyport never instructed the dismissed investigators to keep two sets of books in order to deceive auditors. The investigators were specifically told to continue keeping a log, available to the U.S. government, of every investigation but not to include any attorney-client privilege information on that log – a standard practice. The dismissed investigators incorrectly interpreted this directive as an attempt to deceive the government.
“Sallyport stands by its security procedures and it efforts to help Balad Air Force Base play a significant role in the fight against ISIS. The fact that two former employees gave media interviews providing a factually-incomplete and selective narrative should not be allowed to obscure the vital work of our team at Balad,” Stuckart said.