On Monday, Torres, whose company provides translators and armed security guards in Iraq, was invited to testify before the Commission on Wartime Contracting (CWC), a body created in early 2008 to investigate waste, fraud and abuse in military contracting services in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Torres was asked to testify about his failure to obtain the required clearances for "several hundred" Sierra Leonian armed security guards that he had dispatched to protect Forward Operating Base Shield, a U.S. military base in Baghdad, in January 2010.
Torres didn't show up.
An empty chair at the witness table was placed ready for him together with a placard with his name on it next to those for representatives of three other companies working in Iraq - the London-based Aegis, and DynCorp and Triple Canopy, both Virginia-based companies.
"This commission was also going to ask Mr. Torres why he personally flew to Iraq, to FOB Shield, and strongly suggested that Torres AES be allowed to post the unapproved guards, guards that would protect American troops, and then to 'catch-up the approval process'."
Instead, a lawyer informed the commission staff that Torres was "nervous about appearing".
The failure of a contractor to appear for an oversight hearing into lapses was just one example that the use of some 18,800 armed "private security contractors" in Iraq and another 23,700 in Afghanistan to protect convoys, diplomatic and other personnel, and military bases and other facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq was not working.
Blackwater's new Afghan contract
Perhaps the most famous private military contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq - North Carolina-based Blackwater - was not invited to sit at the witness table either, despite the fact that the company had been the subject of several investigations into misconduct.