With all the controversy surrounding the contract security firm Blackwater Worldwide (now renamed Xe Services) — including accusations that Blackwater guards killed non-threatening civilians in Iraq and engaged in illegal weapons smuggling during the Bush Administration — one might expect the US government under President Obama to avoid them. Nope. The Iraqi government banned the firm from operating there, but the Obama Administration more-or-less ignored that ban and has been using Xe anyway.
Now, two agencies of the US government — the State Dept. and the CIA — have awarded contracts to Xe to guard their facilities in Afghanistan.
Let us therefore not be surprised at future reports from Afghanistan of abuses by Xe guards. Below are exerpts from the story:
CIA Hires Private Security Firm Xe, Formerly Blackwater, In Afghanistan
by Christopher Weber, Politics Daily, June 24, 2010
The CIA has hired the private security firm Xe Services to guard its facilities in Afghanistan and elsewhere, it was reported Thursday.
An industry source tells The Washington Post the contract, worth about $100 million, is for “protective services… guard services, in multiple regions.”
Xe, formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide, won the deal over two other security contractors, Triple Canopy and DynCorp International, …
News of the contract comes after a federal commission investigating war-zone contractors criticized the State Department this week for granting Xe a $120 million deal to guard U.S. consulates under construction in Afghanistan. The North Carolina-based firm has been under scrutiny since its paramilitary employees, acting as security personnel, were involved in a shooting incident in Iraq that left 17 people dead in 2007.