Licensed to Kill: Robert Young Pelton on the Aegis contract

I’ve just got hold of a copy of Robert Young Pelton’s  Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror. Although, I have yet to read the whole thing, I can say there is some excellent journalism in this book, including the best account yet of how Aegis Defence Services got the largest security contract in Iraq.

As Spicer explained to me during the interview, he found the RFP (request for proposal) while surfing the Internet looking for work opportunities in Iraq. However, multiple sources with intimate knowledge of Aegis’s bid have alleged to me that PMO (Project Management Office) security chief Brigadier General Anthony Hunter-Choat and Brigadier General James Ellery helped formulate the specifications for the RFP with Aegis in mind. Some security insiders claim that Spicer had a personal relationship with the two brigadiers from their days as contemporaries in the British military, but others are of the opinion that the awarding of the Aegis contract arose from a wish to have more British companies profitting off the reconstruction. Not surprisingly, Spicer vehemently denies all insinuations and charges, and claims, "it is a standard U.S. tender issued by the northern region. They wrote the spec." (Robert Young Pelton, Licensed to Kill, p277)

Ellery went on to head Aegis’ own Baghdad office, the chaotic state of which led to a negative audit, and to the internal dissension that produced the trophy video episode.

Pelton quotes a former State Department official as saying that Aegis was asked to fire Ellery. While Ellery did leave Iraq, he was instead kicked upstairs to the board of directors.







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