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AROUND THE WATCHDOGS: Lawsuit claims Kabul embassy security workers' timesheets were altered

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Attention is focused today on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's testimony before the Senate and House on the Benghazi attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, but a lawsuit filed by four former private security company employees suggests there are also serious security problems at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

"The company responsible for providing security at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, has at times directed guards to underreport the number of hours they worked to avoid revealing that they have been on the job up to 18 hours per day, according to a federal lawsuit filed this week on behalf people who have served on the guard force," said David Hilzenrath, editor-in-chief for the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

"In addition, supervisors at the company, Aegis Defense Services, 'regularly edited employees' timesheets so that they did not reveal any work beyond the Regular Schedule, the lawsuit says," Hilzenrath reported.

"Aegis employees in Kabul are supposed to work 72 hours per week but have regularly exceeded that, on many occasions working 14- to 18-hour days for six or seven days per week, the lawsuit says," he said.

While the suit was filed on behalf of four individuals - including a senior security guard, a dog handler and two medical technicians - the attorney representing the plaintiffs asked the court to expand the litigation as a class action that could represent as many as 200 individuals, according to POGO.

The lawsuit represents the latest in a series of revelations by POGO concerning lax security at the U.S. embassy in the Afghanistan capital. Last week, for example, POGO reported that former employees of the security company described multiple flaws in the facility's defenses against attacks that could render the embassy among the most dangerous in the world.

For more from POGO, including a link to the lawsuit, go here.

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