ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A former government contractor was charged with fraud Tuesday for handing out top access ID badges in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone (search) to an Iraqi girlfriend and others not entitled to have them.
Barnes was freed on his own recognizance following a brief initial appearance in federal court. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Thursday. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.
Attempts to reach Barnes were not immediately successful Tuesday.
According to court records, Barnes produced access badges for people authorized to enter the Green Zone, where security is especially tight after militants vowed last week to launch an attack in the zone.
DynCorp administers the badge program under a $7.7 million military contract. Greg Lagana, a spokesman for the Irving, Texas, company, said Barnes was fired and withdrawn from Iraq, and the company is confident that Barnes' actions were an isolated incident.
People seeking access to the Green Zone, or International 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.
According to the complaint, 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 alleges he issued blue badges to an Iraqi woman he had been dating — Anaam Ganzi Ali Al-Doury — and high-level badges to members of her family, even though they were entitled only to low-level access badges.
"By compromising the security system in Iraq, this defendant jeopardized the safety of our military, contractor and civilian personnel in Baghdad," said Paul McNulty, U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of Virginia.
Barnes also acknowledged to the FBI that he prepared a blue badge for a DynCorp vice president when the executive was only entitled to a lesser classification, according to the complaint.
Lagana said the DynCorp vice president did not know his access badges were improperly issued.
Two South African members of the security detail that accompanied the DynCorp vice president in Baghdad also improperly received high-level access badges, the complaint said.
A Pentagon spokesman in Baghdad referred questions to the State Department that were not immediately returned.