Dustin Langan worked in Iraq during 2003-4 as a translator for MZM Incorporated, the company headed by now-disgraced Mitchell Wade, jailed for bribing Duke Cunningham to secure no-bid contracts fom the Pentagon.
Langan worked as an interpreter for U.S. and coalition officials in Iraq at mass gravesites, and in interview rooms of the doomed "de-Baathification" process. The account he gives of his experience working as a translator would be hilarious, if the broader results of such incompetence on a larger scale have not wreaked such havoc over the past few years in Iraq.
And MZM hired you without an interview?
Zero. Basically MZM had 22 slots to fill for the contract with the Department of Defense. Each linguist filled a slot, and those slots had to be useful in advancing the military's goals.
So no one seemed concerned about the lack of screening?
I never met her, but Barbara Bodine , she was there , and my understanding is she was outraged when she heard that we had not been screened. But she was fired and sent home almost immediately.
So what was your assessment of your fellow translators?
Two of the 22 were Farsi speakers.