Kroll ‘spurned offer to run Guantánamo prison’




By Mark Huband in London

Financial Times, 26 March 2005

The security company Kroll turned down an offer by US government officials to run the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, a security industry official said. More than 500 terrorist suspects have been held without trial for up to three years at the camp and allegedly subjected to torture.

The official said Kroll was asked whether it would be interested in taking over security at the Camp Delta prison, which is currently guarded by a joint task force mainly made up of US National Guard reservists.

Kroll was approached in early 2004, according to the official, who is familiar with the discussions. The company estimated that it could have earned as much as $100m (€77m, £53m) over three years if it had accepted the contract, he said.

But Kroll rejected the offer on the grounds that accepting it could have damaged its reputation significantly.

The Camp Delta complex in the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay comprises five camps. About 2,000 National Guard servicemen are responsible for perimeter security and overseeing the movement of detainees. Some have been posted to Camp Delta because they have experience in the US prison service.

According to the security industry official, the offer to Kroll revealed further evidence of the pressure on resources within the US military.

Reservists at Guantánamo Bay had been required to leave full-time jobs in several states to provide security at the camp.

“Kroll knew that the US government is so stretched that anybody they think they can get to provide for them, they’re using them,” the industry official said.

The Pentagon yesterday denied it had approached Kroll about managing the detention facility.

“We have not asked any private firms to manage Camp Delta. Nor are we considering asking any private firms to manage Camp Delta,” said Major Michael Shavers, a Pentagon spokesman. But the industry official insisted that an approach had been made.

“Kroll was approached. It was a brief conversation about outsourcing the security at Guantánamo Bay. Kroll would basically have been running it as a prison where the facilities were privatised,” the official said.

“The main rationale behind the approach seemed to be cost-effectiveness. The US has done more and more outsourcing, to compensate for limited resources. They are trying to release people to do other things.”

The official said that Kroll, which has no experience of running prisons, did not even consider taking on the contract.

“Kroll’s response to the approach was that it would have led to an enormous exposure for its reputation to get involved in this kind of work. It took seconds to decide no.”

There was no discussion about money, he added. “But it was potentially a very, very large contract financially. It would probably have been over three years, and in the region of $100m.

“But there is not a lot of detail because Kroll didn’t get any details.”


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