This photo obtained by The Associated Press shows security camera footage of a crane leaving Balad Air Base unchallenged by Sallyport Global security guards on Nov. 14, 2016, after it was involved in stealing generators. (Photo via AP)
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An American company that was paid nearly $700 million to secure an Iraqi base for F-16 fighter jets turned a blind eye to alcohol smuggling, theft, security violations, and allegations of sex trafficking – then terminated investigators who uncovered wrongdoing, an Associated Press investigation has found. Documents and interviews with two former internal investigators and a half-dozen former or current Sallyport Global staff describe schemes at Iraq's Balad Air Base that were major contract violations at best and, if proven, illegal.On July 13, 2015, four F-16s landed at the base, the first of a planned 36 from the U.S. Trouble came within 24 hours, when a long skid mark appeared on the tarmac, stopping about 45 yards from a jet in the "no-go area".A former senior manager defended that order, telling the AP that negotiations with the militias were sensitive and needed Iraqi cooperation. He said the chief suspect was banned from the base, but Cole later saw the man walking around freely.
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