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ID badge issuer in Iraq charged

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A former government contractor was charged with fraud yesterday for issuing top-access ID badges in Baghdad's heavily fortified green zone to people not entitled to them.

Thomas N. Barnes III, 48, of Fort Worth, Texas, a former employee of contractor DynCorp International, was charged after his arrest at Washington Dulles International Airport. He was freed on personal recognizance after a brief initial appearance in U.S. District Court. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. Mr. Barnes faces up to five years in prison. He could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Court records show that Mr. Barnes produced the access badges for people authorized to enter the green zone, where security is especially tight since militants vowed last week to attack the area.

Those seeking access to the zone apply for a badge and undergo a security check. Applicants cleared for access then receive a badge in one of eight colors to reflect high- or low-level access.

The complaint said Mr. Barnes would sidestep the security check and issue blue badges -- reflecting the highest level of access -- to those who should not have received them.

The complaint said he issued blue badges to Iraqi girlfriend Anaam Ganzi Ali Al-Doury and high-level badges to members of her family, though they were entitled only to low-level access badges.

Mr. Barnes admitted to the FBI that he prepared a blue badge for a DynCorp vice president who was entitled only to a lesser classification, the complaint said.

Two South African members of the security detail who accompanied the DynCorp vice president in Baghdad also improperly received high-level access badges, the complaint said.

The charges stem from an ongoing investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in Alexandria into procurement fraud on military contracts.

"By compromising the security system in Iraq, this defendant jeopardized the safety of our military, contractor and civilian personnel in Baghdad," said U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty.