Comment: Is CIA Lying About its Blackwater Contacts?
January 8, 2010 11 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
After CIA director Leon Panetta revealed last summer that private contractor Blackwater was part of a covert CIA hit squad, tasked with summary killings and assassinations of al-Qaeda operatives, the CIA vowed to sever its contacts with the trigger-happy security firm. But did it do so? It doesn’t look like it. Last November, it became known that the company, (recently renamed Xe Services) remains part of a covert CIA program in Pakistan that includes planned assassinations and kidnappings of Taliban and al-Qaeda suspects. More recently, it was revealed that two of the seven Americans who died in the December 30 bomb attack at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, were actually Blackwater employees subcontracted by the CIA.
The question is, why were these two Blackwater employees present during a sensitive security debriefing at the base, involving the entire leadership of the CIA team there, and even the Agency’s second-in-command in Afghanistan? As Nation magazine’s Jeremy Scahill correctly points out, “the fact that two Blackwater personnel were in such close proximity to the [...] suicide bomber shows how deeply enmeshed Blackwater remains in sensitive CIA operations, including those CIA officials claim it no longer participates in, such as intelligence gathering and briefings with valuable agency assets”.
This obvious realization has prompted Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), leading member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, to decide to launch an investigation into the matter. That’s a noble idea. However, it overlooks the interview that Blackwater founder and CEO, Erik Prince’s gave to Vanity Fair last month, in which he revealed that he did in fact work as a CIA spy, carrying out secret missions with the help of a Blackwater hit squad. Everyone in the know realizes why the company’s usually super-secretive CEO suddenly came out, possibly causing a diplomatic rift between Washington and Berlin. It was basically a warning to the US government to leave him and his company alone. If they don’t, more revelations will follow.
Rep. Schakowsky should keep this in mind, as she launches her worthwhile investigation.