Washington, D.C. – Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), released the following statement after re-introducing H.R. 1105, a bill that would protect federal security contractors working overseas from unfair sentencing requirements so that they can continue to protect our soldiers and civil servants.
“Our country is fortunate to have dedicated, hardworking federal security contractors serving alongside our servicemembers to carry out our foreign policy priorities,” said Burgess.
“In 2007, Paul Slough and his team members, employed as State Department contractors during Operation Iraqi Freedom, were escorting a U.S. diplomatic convoy through Baghdad when an oncoming suspicious vehicle failed to stop. The team opened fire to defend the convoy, unfortunately resulting in 14 Iraqi deaths after engaging in a fire fight. These brave men were sentenced for discharging their firearms under a statute that was never meant to apply to U.S. federal government employees defending Americans overseas.
“Thankfully, this past December President Trump pardoned Mr. Slough and his team members. Their case should have never gotten to that point. To ensure this never happens again, I am re-introducing this legislation to exempt overseas federal contractors from mandatory minimum sentencing requirements under 18 U.S.C. 924(c).
“This legislation will protect federal contractors as the work to keep Americans safe without the concern of falling prey to mandatory minimum sentencing requirements. The intention of 18 U.S.C. 924(c) was never to apply to those honorably serving our country. I will continue to put forward this legislation and ask fellow Members to join me in fixing this unintended error.”