As if the U.S. wasn’t facing enough problems in Afghanistan, a former employee of a government contractor that supplies interpreters to the U.S. Army said in an ABC News report that more than one quarter of the translators working in the country had failed language proficiency exams, but they were sent onto the battlefield anyway.
“I determined that someone — and I didn’t know [who] at that time — was changing the grades from blanks or zeros to passing grades,” Paul Funk, a former employee of the Ohio-based Mission Essential Personnel, told ABC. “Many who failed were marked as being passed.”
Funk also alleged that Mission Essential Personnel ignored cheating on language exams that were taken over the phone. The company holds contracts worth up to $1.4 billion. U.S. Army officials confirmed they are investigating the company, said ABC News.
Mission Essential Personnel strongly objected to the ABC story in a statement posted Wednesday their website. The company said that Funk “resigned due to financial improprieties in his office” and said they would not litigate the issue in the media.
“With willful disregard, ABC chose to ignore the facts, doing a grave disservice to the public, and to many good people in the field,” the company said.
Earlier this year, the company was given a one-year, no-bid $679 million extension of its current contract, Wired reported. As Wired pointed out, the company had previously been accused of abandoning wounded employees and allegedly hired out-of-shape employees — even some in their 60s and 70s.
But if you think you’d make the cut, the company is hiring — and a listing posted this week says interpreters are paid $210,000 per year.
Video is embedded below.