The Boyle Test Is an Insufficient Standard for Determining Whether to Allow Private Military Contractors to Assert the Government Contractor Defense

“There is no accountability for the tens of thousands of contractors working [in] Iraq and abroad. Private contractors like Blackwater work outside the scope of the military’s chain of command and can literally do whatever they please without any liability or accountability . . . .”

—Statement by Kathryn Helvenston-Wettengel, the mother of a Blackwater employee killed in the Fallujah ambush

“[T]here is simply no way at all the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security could ever have enough full-time personnel to staff the security function in Iraq. There is no alternative except through contracts.” —Statement by Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq These quotations exemplify a growing problem arising from the Iraq War.”

Private military contractors are being hired in record numbers by the United States military. They are contracted to perform security functions including safeguarding perimeters, guarding convoys, and providing private bodyguard services to diplomats and State Department officials. As a result of the military’s extensive reliance on these private military contractors, some problems, such as lack of oversight and unclear legal standards, are beginning to surface.

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