Blackwater Isn't the Only Security Contractor With Something to Hide

A Denver court case reveals dirty trade secrets from the business of war in Iraq.

MVM's lawyers have responded that Boone was not an employee but an independent contractor, and that his termination was a matter of expedience rather than retaliation. In the alleged firefight, Boone "failed to engage the enemy," they contend. Boone attorney Thomas Stocker's response: "It is simply incredulous to believe that a twenty-year Special Forces veteran, highly trained in anti-terrorism skills, would not engage the enemy — if there were any enemy to engage."

The company has sought to have the case moved from Denver's federal court, arguing that it belongs in an Iraqi courtroom. But in addition to breach of contract, Boone is also claiming that he was fired for exercising "his legal rights as an American citizen to object to illegal and wrongful behavior" — and that, U.S. District Judge Phillip Figa ruled, is an appropriate matter to be decided under Colorado employment law.

"Iraq has no interest in the outcome of an employment dispute between a Colorado citizen and a California corporation with its principal place of business in Virginia," Figa wrote. "[Boone] has alleged MVM fired him for performing an allegedly important public obligation and required him to forsake a public duty in order to remain employed."

An attorney for MVM declined to comment on the case. Stocker, Boone's attorney, declined to discuss specifics of the lawsuit but said his client's claims are no different than those of whistleblowers in other professions. "If you believe there's been wrongdoing and report that to your company and get fired for it, that's retaliation," he says.

Boone has since returned to security work in Iraq with another company. His offer to settle the case for $975,000 was rejected by MVM. A settlement hearing is scheduled for early next year.

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