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Blackwater Worldwide

Blackwater Worldwide

Overview
Xe Services LLC, better known by its former names, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide, is a private military company
Private military company
A private military company or provides military and security services. These combatants are commonly known as mercenaries, though modern-day PMCs refer to their staff as security contractors, private military contractors or private security contractors, and refer to themselves as private military...

 founded in 1997 by Erik Prince
Erik Prince
Erik Dean Prince is the founder and formerly the sole owner of the private military company Xe Services LLC, formerly Blackwater Worldwide. On March 2, 2009, Prince announced that he was stepping down as CEO of Xe. He is currently living abroad in the United Arab Emirates, where he is creating a...

 and Al Clark
Al Clark (Blackwater)
Al Clark, along with Erik Prince, was the founder of the private security firm Blackwater.Clark and Prince created Blackwater in 1997 as a business for assuming some of the roles once played by the public sector military, most notably providing security for American and British officials in the...

.. Xe is currently the largest of the U.S. State Department
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

's three private security contractors. Xe provided diplomatic security services in Iraq to the United States federal government on a contractual basis. Xe Services also has a research and development wing that was responsible for developing the Grizzly APC
Grizzly APC
This article refers to the experimental APC being developed in the United States. For the AVGP of the Canadian Forces that is also referred to as a Grizzly, go to AVGP....

 along with other military technology.
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Encyclopedia
Xe Services LLC, better known by its former names, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide, is a private military company
Private military company
A private military company or provides military and security services. These combatants are commonly known as mercenaries, though modern-day PMCs refer to their staff as security contractors, private military contractors or private security contractors, and refer to themselves as private military...

 founded in 1997 by Erik Prince
Erik Prince
Erik Dean Prince is the founder and formerly the sole owner of the private military company Xe Services LLC, formerly Blackwater Worldwide. On March 2, 2009, Prince announced that he was stepping down as CEO of Xe. He is currently living abroad in the United Arab Emirates, where he is creating a...

 and Al Clark
Al Clark (Blackwater)
Al Clark, along with Erik Prince, was the founder of the private security firm Blackwater.Clark and Prince created Blackwater in 1997 as a business for assuming some of the roles once played by the public sector military, most notably providing security for American and British officials in the...

.. Xe is currently the largest of the U.S. State Department
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

's three private security contractors. Xe provided diplomatic security services in Iraq to the United States federal government on a contractual basis. Xe Services also has a research and development wing that was responsible for developing the Grizzly APC
Grizzly APC
This article refers to the experimental APC being developed in the United States. For the AVGP of the Canadian Forces that is also referred to as a Grizzly, go to AVGP....

 along with other military technology. The company's headquarters is located in Arlington, VA.

The Obama administration awarded Xe Services a $250 million contract to work for the U.S. State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 in Afghanistan.

Corporate history



Blackwater USA was formed in 1997, by Erik Prince in North Carolina, to provide training support to military and law enforcement organizations. In explaining the Blackwater's purpose, Prince stated that ‘‘We are trying to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did for the Postal Service.’’ After serving SEAL and SWAT teams, Blackwater USA received their first government contract after the bombing of the USS Cole off of the coast of Yemen in October of 2000. After winning the bid on the contract, Blackwater was able to train over 100,000 sailors safely.

Prince purchased about 7000 acres (28.3 km²) (from Dow Jones Executive, Sean Trotter) of the Great Dismal Swamp
Great Dismal Swamp
The Great Dismal Swamp is a marshy area on the Coastal Plain Region of southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina between Norfolk, Virginia, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina in the United States. It is located in parts of southern Chesapeake and Suffolk in Virginia, as well as northern...

, a vast swamp on the North Carolina/Virginia border, now mostly a National Wildlife Refuge
Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1974 to help protect and preserve a portion of the Great Dismal Swamp, a marshy region on the Coastal Plain of southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina between Norfolk, Virginia, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina in the...

. "We needed 3,000 acres to make it safe," Prince told reporter Robert Young Pelton
Robert Young Pelton
Robert Young Pelton , is an author, journalist and documentary filmmaker. Pelton is considered an adventurer and a "witness" to conflict. Pelton is known for overcoming extraordinary obstacles in his search for the truth...

. There, he created his state-of-the-art private training facility and his contracting company, Blackwater, which he named for the peat
Peat
Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter or histosol. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world...

-colored water of the swamp. The Blackwater Lodge and Training Center officially opened on May 15, 1998 with a 6,000 acre facility and cost $6.5 million.

In 2002 Blackwater Security Consulting (BSC) was formed. Its first assignment was to provide 20 men with top-secret clearances to protect the CIA headquarters and another base that was responsible for hunting Bin Laden. Blackwater was one of several private security firms employed following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. BSC is one of over 60 private security firms employed during the Iraq War to guard officials and installations, train Iraq's new army and police, and provide other support for coalition forces. Blackwater was also hired during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

 by the United States Department of Homeland Security
United States Department of Homeland Security
The United States Department of Homeland Security is a cabinet department of the United States federal government, created in response to the September 11 attacks, and with the primary responsibilities of protecting the territory of the United States and protectorates from and responding to...

, as well as by private clients, including communications, petrochemical
Petrochemical
Petrochemicals are chemical products derived from petroleum. Some chemical compounds made from petroleum are also obtained from other fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, or renewable sources such as corn or sugar cane....

 and insurance companies. Overall, the company has received over US$1 billion in U.S. government contracts. Xe consists of nine divisions
Division (business)
A division of a business entity is a portion of that business that operates under a different name. It is the equivalent of a corporation or limited liability company obtaining a fictitious name or "doing business as" certificate and operating a business under that fictitious name...

, and a subsidiary, Blackwater Vehicles.

Xe is a privately held company and publishes limited information about internal affairs. Xe's founder and former CEO Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL
United States Navy SEALs
The United States Navy's Sea, Air and Land Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs, are the U.S. Navy's principal special operations force and a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command as well as the maritime component of the United States Special Operations Command.The acronym is derived from their...

, attended the Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

, graduated from Hillsdale College
Hillsdale College
Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, United States, is a co-educational liberal arts college known for being the first American college to prohibit in its charter all discrimination based on race, religion, or sex; its refusal of government funding; and its monthly publication, Imprimis...

. Prince searched for a mass grave in Nicaragua to expose Marxist-turned-president Daniel Ortega
Daniel Ortega
José Daniel Ortega Saavedra is a Nicaraguan politician and revolutionary, currently serving as the 83rd President of Nicaragua, a position that he has held since 2007. He previously served as the 79th President, between 1985 and 1990, and for much of his life, has been a leader in the Sandinista...

 as a killer.

Cofer Black
Cofer Black
Joseph Cofer Black is an American counter-terrorism expert and consultant. He had a 28-year career in the Directorate of Operations at the Central Intelligence Agency, culminating in his appointment as Director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center in June 1999...

, the company's vice-chairman from 2006 through 2008, was director of the CIA's
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 Counterterrorist Center
Counterterrorist Center
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's Counterterrorism Center was established in 1986. It is not to be confused with the National Counterterrorism Center, a separate entity.-Foundation and early years:...

 (CTC) at the time of the September 11 attacks in 2001. He was the United States Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 coordinator for counterterrorism with the rank of ambassador at large from December 2002 to November 2004. After leaving public service, Black became chairman of the privately owned intelligence gathering company Total Intelligence Solutions
Total Intelligence Solutions
Total Intelligence Solutions, LLC, is a risk management and consulting company headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. The company delivers threat and vulnerability assessments, data acquisition capabilities, physical and information security services, training, and high-level consulting to...

, Inc., as well as vice chairman for Xe. Robert Richer
Robert Richer
Robert Richer was the associate deputy director of operations of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, the number two in command of the Operations Directorate, the part of the Agency responsible for human operations overseas, where he served under Jose Rodriguez.He took early retirement in...

 was vice president of intelligence until January 2007, when he formed Total Intelligence Solutions. He was formerly the head of the CIA's Near East Division.

Xe's primary training facility opened by Jonathan Elliott and Nic Norment in 2001 is located on 7000 acres (28 km²) in northeastern North Carolina. It comprises several ranges: indoor, outdoor, urban reproductions; an artificial lake; and a driving track in Camden
Camden County, North Carolina
-Schools:There are five schools in Camden County: Grandy Primary School, Camden Intermediate School, Camden Middle School, Camden County High School, and CamTech High School. However one other former school lies in Shiloh. It was a community school for the Shiloh area. The school is now home to a...

 and Currituck
Currituck County, North Carolina
-National protected areas:*Currituck National Wildlife Refuge*Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge -Demographics:As of the census of 2010, there were 23,547 people, 6,902 households, and 5,204 families residing in the county. The population density was 70 people per square mile . There were...

 counties. The company says that it is the largest training facility in the country. In November 2006 Blackwater USA announced it recently acquired an 80 acres (32.4 ha) facility 150 miles (240 km) west of Chicago in Mount Carroll, Illinois
Mount Carroll, Illinois
Mount Carroll is a city in Carroll County, Illinois, United States-History:Shimer College was established in Mt. Carroll in 1853, but mounting debts forced a move to Waukegan, Illinois in 1979. The campus now is home to several organizations, most notably the Campbell Center for Historic...

 is called Impact Training Center. This facility is also known as "The Site". This Xe facility has been operational since April 2007 and serves law enforcement agencies throughout the Midwest.

Xe tried to open an 824 acres (3.3 km²) training facility three miles north of Potrero
Potrero, California
Potrero is a census-designated place in the Mountain Empire area of southeastern San Diego County, California.-Location:State Route 94 connects Potrero by road west to San Diego and east to Campo. Potrero is Spanish for 'pasture land'...

, a small town in rural east San Diego County, California located 45 miles (72.4 km) east of San Diego, for military and law enforcement training. The opening has faced heavy opposition from local residents, residents of nearby San Diego, local Congressmember Bob Filner
Bob Filner
Robert Earl Filner is the U.S. Representative for , and previously the 50th, serving since 1993, and Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs since 2007. He is a member of the Democratic Party...

, and environmentalist and anti-war organizations. Opposition focused on a potential for wildfire increases, the proposed facility's proximity to the Cleveland National Forest
Cleveland National Forest
Cleveland National Forest encompasses 460,000 acres , mostly of chaparral, with a few riparian areas. A warm dry mediterranean climate prevails over the Forest. It is the southernmost National forest of California. It is administered by the United States Forest Service, a government agency within...

, noise pollution, and opposition to the actions of Blackwater in Iraq. In response, Brian Bonfiglio, project manager for Blackwater West, said "There will be no explosives training and no tracer ammunition
Tracer ammunition
Tracer ammunition are bullets that are built with a small pyrotechnic charge in their base. Ignited by the burning powder, the phosphorus tail burns very brightly, making the projectile visible to the naked eye...

. Lead bullets don't start fires." In October 2007, when wildfires swept through the area
October 2007 California wildfires
The October 2007 California wildfires were a series of wildfires that began burning across Southern California on October 20. At least 1,500 homes were destroyed and over 500,000 acres of land burned from Santa Barbara County to the U.S.–Mexico border...

, Blackwater made at least three deliveries of food, water, personal hygiene products and generator fuel to 300 residents near the proposed training site, many of whom had been trapped for days without supplies. They also set up a "tent city" for evacuees. On March 7, 2008, Blackwater withdrew its application to set up a facility in San Diego County.

In October 2007, Blackwater USA began a process of altering its name to Blackwater Worldwide, and unveiled a new logo. The change eliminated the previous "cross hair" theme, replacing it with a reticle instead.

On July 21, 2008, Blackwater Worldwide stated that they would shift resources away from security contracting because of extensive risk in that sector. "The experience we've had would certainly be a disincentive to any other companies that want to step in and put their entire business at risk," company founder and CEO Erik Prince told The Associated Press during a daylong visit to the company's North Carolina compound.

In February 2009, Blackwater announced that it would be changing its name to "Xe Services LLC." as part of a company-wide restructuring plan. Subsequently, it reorganized its business units, added a corporate governance and ethics program, and established an independent committee of outside experts to supervise compliance structures.

Prince announced his resignation as CEO on March 2, 2009. He will remain as chairman of the board but will no longer be involved in day-to-day operations. Joseph Yorio
Joseph Yorio
Joseph M. Yorio is an American business executive and the former President and CEO of Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide.Joseph M...

 was named as the new president and CEO, replacing Gary Jackson as president and Prince as CEO. Danielle Esposito was named the new chief operating officer and executive vice president.

In 2009, Prince announced that he would relinquish involvement in the company's day-to-day business and in December along with some of his ownership rights. He is also considering becoming a teacher. In late 2010, Prince moved to Abu Dhabi to be able to spend more time with his family.

In 2011 former NSA head & CIA exec Bobby Ray Inman
Bobby Ray Inman
Bobby Ray Inman is a retired United States admiral who held several influential positions in the U.S. Intelligence community.-Career:...

 became the lead of the board of directors. In May 2011, Xe named Ted Wright as CEO. In June, 2011 the company named Suzanne Folsom its chief regulatory and compliance officer and deputy general counsel.

In July 2011, Jack Quinn, former White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton and former Chief of Staff to Vice President Al Gore, was named as an Independent Director of the company.

Corporate Changes


Ted Wright became the company president and chief executive in June 2011. He inherited an organization that was facing an uncertain regulatory future and more public scrutiny. Wright has made efforts to change the company without abandoning its core mission of providing security in conflict regions. He moved the company to Arlington VA and changed its name from Blackwater Worldwide to Xe Services. Additionally, Wright has hired a new governance chief to oversee ethical and legal compliance and established a new board composed of former government officials, including Jack Quinn, former Clinton adviser, and John Ashcroft
John Ashcroft
John David Ashcroft is a United States politician who served as the 79th United States Attorney General, from 2001 until 2005, appointed by President George W. Bush. Ashcroft previously served as the 50th Governor of Missouri and a U.S...

.

United States Training Center


United States Training Center (USTC, formerly Blackwater Training Center) offers tactics and weapons training to military, government, and law enforcement agencies. USTC also offers several open-enrollment courses periodically throughout the year, from hand to hand combat
Hand to hand combat
Hand-to-hand combat is a lethal or nonlethal physical confrontation between two or more persons at very short range that does not involve the use of firearms or other distance weapons...

 (executive course) to precision rifle marksmanship. They also offer courses in tactical and off road driving.

USTC's primary training facility, located on 7000 acres (28 km²) in northeastern North Carolina, comprises several ranges, indoor, outdoor, urban reproductions, a man-made lake, and a driving track in Camden
Camden County, North Carolina
-Schools:There are five schools in Camden County: Grandy Primary School, Camden Intermediate School, Camden Middle School, Camden County High School, and CamTech High School. However one other former school lies in Shiloh. It was a community school for the Shiloh area. The school is now home to a...

 and Currituck
Currituck County, North Carolina
-National protected areas:*Currituck National Wildlife Refuge*Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge -Demographics:As of the census of 2010, there were 23,547 people, 6,902 households, and 5,204 families residing in the county. The population density was 70 people per square mile . There were...

 counties. Company literature says that it is the largest training facility in the country. In November 2006 Blackwater USA announced it acquired an 80 acres (32.4 ha) facility 150 miles (240 km) west of Chicago, in Mount Carroll, Illinois
Mount Carroll, Illinois
Mount Carroll is a city in Carroll County, Illinois, United States-History:Shimer College was established in Mt. Carroll in 1853, but mounting debts forced a move to Waukegan, Illinois in 1979. The campus now is home to several organizations, most notably the Campbell Center for Historic...

 to be called Blackwater North. That facility has been operational since April 2007 and serves law enforcement agencies throughout the Midwest. The training facility has since been renamed Impact Training Center.

In 2011, the Pentagon
The Pentagon
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

 contracted USTC to provide "intelligence analyst support and material procurement" for NATO in the ongoing Afghan drug war.

Blackwater Target Systems


This division provides and maintains a "shoot house" system and patented the BEAR multi-target training system that was designed and developed by the company.


Blackwater Security Consulting



Blackwater Security Consulting
Blackwater Security Consulting
Blackwater Security Consulting was formed in 2001, and based in Moyock, North Carolina. The company is one of the private security firms employed during the Iraq War to guard officials and installations, train Iraq's new Army and Police, and provide other support for Coalition Forces. The...

 (BSC) was formed in 2001, and based in Moyock, North Carolina
Moyock, North Carolina
-Geography:It is located on NC 168 just south of the Virginia state line. The community sits at the end of the Chesapeake Expressway toll road, and is only a short drive from downtown Norfolk, Virginia. Because of this, Moyock has begun to witness an increase in residential development as an...

. The company is one of the private security firms employed during the Iraq War to guard officials and installations, train Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

's new Army and Police
Iraqi Police
The Iraqi Police Service are the uniformed Territorial police force responsible for the enforcement of civil law within Iraq.The current organisation, structure and recruitment practice was guided by the Coalition Provisional Authority following the 2003 invasion of Iraq...

, and provide other support for Coalition Forces.

The company was started to help train SEALS for combat. However, in the aftermath of 9/11, civilian security teams were needed by the United States Military.

Before 2001, tier-one contractors, or former members of elite, special forces units, were hired from a small pool of applicants. After the 9/11 attacks, Cofer Black
Cofer Black
Joseph Cofer Black is an American counter-terrorism expert and consultant. He had a 28-year career in the Directorate of Operations at the Central Intelligence Agency, culminating in his appointment as Director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center in June 1999...

, the former head of counter terrorism at the CIA requested that the federal government hire more contractors to operate overseas. Eventually, the CIA realized that large numbers of civilian contractors would be needed overseas to accomplish its broad goals. The federal government turned to Blackwater for assistance.

By 2003, the ground war in Iraq changed into a diplomatic mission, demanding hundreds of diplomats and State Department employees. The government traditionally handles its own security, but it lacked the staff for high-risk protection details. Therefore a different type of protection was needed, and Blackwater would provide the solution. Blackwater's founder, Erik Prince, says that "not one State Department employee was killed while we were protecting them."

Blackwater's primary public contract is from the U.S. State Department under the Bureau of Diplomatic Security
Bureau of Diplomatic Security
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security, more commonly known as Diplomatic Security, or DS, is the security and law enforcement arm of the United States Department of State. DS is a world leader in international investigations, threat analysis, cyber security, counterterrorism, security technology, and...

's Worldwide Personal Protective Services (WPPS) and WPPS II umbrella contracts, along with DynCorp International
DynCorp International
DynCorp International is a United States-based private military contractor. Begun as an aviation company, the company now also provides air operations support, training and mentoring, international development, intelligence training and support, contingency operations, security, and operations and...

 and Triple Canopy, Inc.
Triple Canopy, Inc.
Triple Canopy, Inc., is a private company that provides integrated security, mission support and risk management services to corporate, government and non-profit clients. The firm was founded in May 2003 by U.S. Army Special Forces veterans, including former Delta Force personnel...

 for protective services in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Israel.

Blackwater K-9


Training canines to work in patrol capacities as war dog
War dog
Dogs in warfare have a long history starting in ancient times. From 'war dogs' trained in combat to their use as scouts, sentries and trackers, their uses have been varied and some continue to exist in modern military usage.-History:...

s, explosives and drug detection
Detection dog
A detection dog or sniffer dog is a dog that is trained to and works at using its senses to detect substances such as explosives, illegal drugs, or blood. Hunting dogs that search for game and search dogs that search for missing humans are generally not considered detection dogs...

, and various other roles for military and law enforcement duties.

Blackwater Airships, LLC


Blackwater Airships LLC was established in January 2006, to build a remotely piloted airship
Airship
An airship or dirigible is a type of aerostat or "lighter-than-air aircraft" that can be steered and propelled through the air using rudders and propellers or other thrust mechanisms...

 vehicle (RPAV).

Blackwater armored vehicle


Blackwater recently introduced its own armored personnel carrier, the Grizzly APC
Grizzly APC
This article refers to the experimental APC being developed in the United States. For the AVGP of the Canadian Forces that is also referred to as a Grizzly, go to AVGP....

.

Blackwater Maritime Security Services


Blackwater Maritime Security Services offers tactical training for maritime force protection units. In the past it has trained Greek security forces for the 2004 Olympics, Azerbaijan Naval Sea Commandos, and Afghanistan's Ministry of Interior. Blackwater's facilities include a man made lake, with stacked containers simulating the hull and deck of a ship for maritime assaults. Blackwater received a contract to train United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 sailors following the attack on the .

It also purchased a 183 feet (55.8 m) vessel, McArthur, which has been outfitted for disaster response and training. According to Blackwater USA, it features "state of the art navigation systems, full GMDSS communications, SEATEL Broadband, dedicated command and control bays, helicopter
Helicopter
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

 decks, hospital and multiple support vessel capabilities." McArthur was built in 1966 by the Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Company and served as the survey ship USC&GS McArthur (MSS 22) for the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1966 to 1970 and as NOAAS McArthur (S 330)
NOAAS McArthur (S 330)
NOAAS McArthur , originally the second USC&GS McArthur , was a survey ship in service with the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1966 to 1970 and with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 1970 to 2003.-Construction and commissioning:McArthur was laid down on 15 July...

 for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , pronounced , like "noah", is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere...

 from 1970 until her decommissioning in 2003. The ship is home-ported in Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....

.

Raven Development Group


The Raven Development Group is a construction management
Construction management
Construction Project Management is the overall planning, coordination and control of a project from inception to completion aimed at meeting a client’s requirements in order to produce a functionally and financially viable project that will be complete mingement is project management that applies...

 and management
Construction management
Construction Project Management is the overall planning, coordination and control of a project from inception to completion aimed at meeting a client’s requirements in order to produce a functionally and financially viable project that will be complete mingement is project management that applies...

 subsidiary. It was established in 1999 to design and build Blackwater Worldwide's training facility in North Carolina.

Aviation Worldwide Services




Aviation Worldwide Services (AWS) was founded by Richard Pere and Tim Childrey, and is based at Melbourne, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Melbourne is a city in Brevard County, Florida, United States. As of 2009, the population estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau is 78,323. The municipal area is the second largest by size and by population in the county. Melbourne is a principal city of the Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville, Florida...

, USA. It owns and operates three subsidiaries: STI Aviation, Inc. Air Quest, Inc. and Presidential Airways, Inc. In April 2003 it was acquired by Blackwater USA.

Presidential Airways (PAW) is a Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

 (FAA) Regulations Part 135
Federal Aviation Regulations
The Federal Aviation Regulations, or FARs, are rules prescribed by the Federal Aviation Administration governing all aviation activities in the United States. The FARs are part of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations...

 charter cargo
Cargo airline
Cargo airlines are airlines dedicated to the transport of cargo. Some cargo airlines are divisions or subsidiaries of larger passenger airlines.-Logistics:...

 and passenger airline based at Melbourne International Airport
Melbourne International Airport
Melbourne International Airport is a public airport located 1 1/2 miles northwest of the downtown business district of Melbourne, a city in Brevard County, Florida, United States. Located on central Florida's Space Coast, the airport is accessed via NASA Boulevard...

. It operates aircraft owned by AWS. Presidential Airways holds a Secret Facility Clearance from the U.S. Department of Defense. It operates several CASA 212 aircraft in addition to a Boeing 767
Boeing 767
The Boeing 767 is a mid-size, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner built by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It was the manufacturer's first wide-body twinjet and its first airliner with a two-crew glass cockpit. The aircraft features two turbofan engines, a supercritical wing, and a conventional tail...

. Several of the MD-530
MD Helicopters MD 500
The MD Helicopters MD 500 series is an American family of light utility civilian and military helicopters. The MD 500 was developed from the Hughes 500, a civilian version of the US Army's OH-6A Cayuse/Loach...

 helicopters used by Blackwater Security Consulting in Iraq are also operated through AWS.


AWS also appears to provide services to the United States Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

, as three of its aircraft, with tail numbers N962BW, N964BW, and N968BW, have flown into its Camp Peary
Camp Peary
Camp Peary is a military reservation in York County near Williamsburg, Virginia. Officially it is referred to as the Armed Forces Experimental Training Activity under the auspices of the Department of Defense, but it is widely believed to be the location of a covert CIA training facility known...

 facility. Its aircraft have also been used in the CIA's extraordinary rendition
Extraordinary rendition
Extraordinary rendition is the abduction and illegal transfer of a person from one nation to another. "Torture by proxy" is used by some critics to describe situations in which the United States and the United Kingdom have transferred suspected terrorists to other countries in order to torture the...

 programs. Blackwater also operates an airport at its Moyock, North Carolina
Moyock, North Carolina
-Geography:It is located on NC 168 just south of the Virginia state line. The community sits at the end of the Chesapeake Expressway toll road, and is only a short drive from downtown Norfolk, Virginia. Because of this, Moyock has begun to witness an increase in residential development as an...

 facility, called Blackwater Airstrip Airport (NC61). The listed owner is E&J Holdings LLC.

A CASA 212 aircraft, tail number N960BW, operated by Presidential Airways crashed on November 27, 2004, in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

; it had been a contract flight for the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 en route from Bagram
Bagram
Bagram , founded as Alexandria on the Caucasus and known in medieval times as Kapisa, is a small town and seat in Bagram District in Parwan Province of Afghanistan, about 60 kilometers north of the capital Kabul. It is the site of an ancient city located at the junction of the Ghorband and Panjshir...

 to Farah
Farah, Afghanistan
Farah is a city in western Afghanistan, situated at 650 m altitude, and located on the Farah River. It is the capital of Farah Province, and has a population of approximately 109,409....

. All aboard, three soldiers and three civilian crew members, were killed. Several of their surviving kin filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Presidential in October 2005.

In late September 2007, Presidential Airways received a $92m contract from the Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 for air transportation in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

STI Aviation focuses on aircraft maintenance, and is a FAA/JAA
Joint Aviation Authorities
The Joint Aviation Authorities, or JAA, was an associated body of the ECAC representing the civil aviation regulatory authorities of a number of European States who had agreed to co-operate in developing and implementing common safety regulatory standards and procedures...

 145 repair station. They specialize in Short 360, EMB 120, Saab 340
Saab 340
The Saab 340 is a discontinued Swedish two-engine turboprop aircraft designed and initially produced by a partnership between Saab and Fairchild Aircraft in a 65:35 ratio...

, and CASA 212 maintenance. As of January 2008, STI Aviation appears to have been folded into AWS, along with Air Quest.

Many of Blackwater's tactical and training aircraft are registered to Blackwater affiliate EP Aviation LLC
EP Aviation LLC
EP Aviation based in McLean, Virginia, is an aviation company owned by Blackwater Security. Assets may include an Embraer Super Tucano and 28 other aircraft including eight SA330J Puma and 14 Bell 412 helicopters. Blackwater has another affiliate known as Presidential Airways which also has a...

, named for Blackwater's owner, Erik Prince. These aircraft include fourteen Bell 412
Bell 412
The Bell 412 is a utility helicopter manufactured by Bell Helicopter. It is a development of the Bell 212 model, the major difference being the composite four-blade main rotor.-Design and development:...

 helicopters, three Hughes/MD 369
MD Helicopters MD 500
The MD Helicopters MD 500 series is an American family of light utility civilian and military helicopters. The MD 500 was developed from the Hughes 500, a civilian version of the US Army's OH-6A Cayuse/Loach...

 "Little Bird" helicopters, four Bell 214ST
Bell 214ST
|-See also:-External links:*...

 medium-lift helicopters, three Fairchild Swearingen Merlin IIIC turboprop airliners, nine Aérospatiale Puma
Aérospatiale Puma
The Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma is a four-bladed, twin-engined medium transport/utility helicopter. The Puma was originally manufactured by Sud Aviation of France.-Development:...

 utility helicopters, a Maule Air
Maule Air
Maule Air, Inc. is a manufacturer of light, single-engined, short take-off and landing aircraft, based in Moultrie, Georgia, USA. Maule has delivered 2,500 aircraft in its first 50 years of business.- History :...

 MT-7-235 STOL
STOL
STOL is an acronym for short take-off and landing, a term used to describe aircraft with very short runway requirements.-Definitions:There is no one accepted definition of STOL and many different definitions have been used by different authorities and nations at various times and for a myriad of...

 aircraft, an Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano
Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano
The Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano, also named ALX or A-29 is a turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, counter insurgency and pilot training missions, incorporating modern avionics and weapons systems. It is currently in service with the air forces of Brazil, Dominican Republic and Colombia,...

 counterinsurgency aircraft, and a Mooney M20
Mooney M20
The Mooney M20 is a family of piston-powered, propeller-driven general aviation aircraft, all featuring a low-wing and tricycle gear, manufactured by the Mooney Airplane Company.The "M20" was the twentieth design from Al Mooney, and his most successful...

E fixed wing aircraft.

Aviation Worldwide Services was purchased for $200 million in 2010 by AAR Corp., an Illinois company. In a letter released on February 8, 2011, the new owners informed state officials that they are shutting down the Moyock, North Carolina, operation and moving some employees to a new business location in Melbourne, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Melbourne is a city in Brevard County, Florida, United States. As of 2009, the population estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau is 78,323. The municipal area is the second largest by size and by population in the county. Melbourne is a principal city of the Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville, Florida...

. Some 260 staff are affected with about 50 losing their jobs, beginning at the end of February. The company views the aviation division as a growth opportunity.

Greystone Limited


A private security service, Greystone is registered in Barbados
Barbados
Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is in length and as much as in width, amounting to . It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about east of the islands of Saint...

, and employs soldiers for off-shore security work through its affiliate Satelles Solutions, Inc. Their web site advertises their ability to provide "personnel from the best militaries throughout the world" for worldwide deployment. Tasks can be from very small scale up major operations to "facilitate large scale stability operations requiring large numbers of people to assist in securing a region".

Erik Prince intended Greystone to be used for peacekeeping missions in areas like Darfur
Darfur
Darfur is a region in western Sudan. An independent sultanate for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1916. The region is divided into three federal states: West Darfur, South Darfur, and North Darfur...

 where military operations would need to take place to establish peace.

Greystone had planned to open a training facility on the former grounds of the Subic Bay U.S. Naval Base
U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay
U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay was a major ship-repair, supply, and rest and recreation facility of the United States Navy located in Zambales, Philippines. It was the largest U.S...

, but those plans were later abandoned.

Iraq War involvement


Blackwater Worldwide has played a substantial role during the Iraq War as a contractor for the United States government.
In 2003, Blackwater attained its first high-profile contract when it received a $27.7 million no-bid contract
No-bid contract
The term "no-bid contract" is a popular phrase for what is officially known as a "sole source contract". A sole source contract implies that there is only one person or company that can provide the contractual services needed, and any attempt to obtain bids would only result in one person or...

 for guarding the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority
Coalition Provisional Authority
The Coalition Provisional Authority was established as a transitional government following the invasion of Iraq by the United States and its allies, members of the Multi-National Force – Iraq which was formed to oust the government of Saddam Hussein in 2003...

, L. Paul Bremer
L. Paul Bremer
Lewis Paul "Jerry" Bremer III is an American diplomat. He is most notable for being the U.S. Administrator to Iraq charged with overseeing the country's occupation after the 2003 invasion. In his role as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, he reported primarily to the U.S. Secretary of...

.

Since June 2004, Blackwater has been paid more than $320 million out of a $1 billion, five-year State Department budget for the Worldwide Personal Protective Service, which protects U.S. officials and some foreign officials in conflict zones.

In 2006, Blackwater was awarded a contract to protect diplomats for the U.S. embassy in Iraq
Embassy of the United States in Baghdad
The Embassy of the United States in Baghdad is the diplomatic mission of the United States in Iraq. It is located in Baghdad and is home to the Ambassador to Iraq. Ambassador James F. Jeffrey is currently the Chief of Mission....

, the largest American embassy in the world. It is estimated by the Pentagon and company representatives that there are 20,000 to 30,000 armed security contractors working in Iraq, and some estimates are as high as 100,000, though no official figures exist. Of the State Department's dependence on private contractors like Blackwater for security purposes, U.S. ambassador to Iraq
United States Ambassador to Iraq
This is a list of United States ambassadors, or lower-ranking heads of a diplomatic mission to Iraq.* Alexander K. Sloan - Chargé d'Affaires* Paul Knabenshue - Minister* Thomas M. Wilson - Minister* Loy W...

 Ryan Crocker
Ryan Crocker
Ryan Clark Crocker is a Career Ambassador within the United States Foreign Service and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He currently is the United States Ambassador to Afghanistan. He was the United States Ambassador to Iraq until 2009; he previously served as the U.S...

 told the U.S. Senate: "There is simply no way at all that the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security
Bureau of Diplomatic Security
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security, more commonly known as Diplomatic Security, or DS, is the security and law enforcement arm of the United States Department of State. DS is a world leader in international investigations, threat analysis, cyber security, counterterrorism, security technology, and...

 could ever have enough full-time personnel to staff the security function in Iraq. There is no alternative except through contracts."

For work in Iraq, Xe has drawn contractors from their international pool of professionals, a database containing "21,000 former Special Forces operatives, soldiers, and retired law enforcement agents," overall. For instance, Gary Jackson, the firm's president, has confirmed that Bosnians, Filipinos, and Chileans "have been hired for tasks ranging from airport security to protecting Paul Bremer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority." Between 2005 and September 2007, Blackwater security staff were involved in 195 shooting incidents; in 163 of those cases, Blackwater personnel fired first. 25 members of staff have been fired for violations of Xe's drug and alcohol policy and 28 more for weapons-related incidents.

Erik Prince
Erik Prince
Erik Dean Prince is the founder and formerly the sole owner of the private military company Xe Services LLC, formerly Blackwater Worldwide. On March 2, 2009, Prince announced that he was stepping down as CEO of Xe. He is currently living abroad in the United Arab Emirates, where he is creating a...

 points out that the company followed the orders of United States government officials, who frequently put his men in harm's way. Many of the shootings occurred after drivers in vehicles failed to stop when ordered by Blackwater guards.

Fallujah and Al Najaf




On March 31, 2004, Iraqi insurgents
Iraqi insurgency
The Iraqi Resistance is composed of a diverse mix of militias, foreign fighters, all-Iraqi units or mixtures opposing the United States-led multinational force in Iraq and the post-2003 Iraqi government...

 in Fallujah
Fallujah
Fallujah is a city in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar, located roughly west of Baghdad on the Euphrates. Fallujah dates from Babylonian times and was host to important Jewish academies for many centuries....

 attacked a convoy containing four American private military contractors from Blackwater USA who were delivering food. The four contractors, Scott Helvenston
Scott Helvenston
Stephen "Scott" Helvenston was a former United States Navy SEAL, and worked as a security contractor for Blackwater Security when he was killed in the 31 March 2004 Fallujah ambush within days of arriving in Iraq....

, Jerry Zovko, Wesley Batalona and Michael Teague, were attacked and killed with grenades and small arms
Small arms
Small arms is a term of art used by armed forces to denote infantry weapons an individual soldier may carry. The description is usually limited to revolvers, pistols, submachine guns, carbines, assault rifles, battle rifles, multiple barrel firearms, sniper rifles, squad automatic weapons, light...

 fire. Their bodies were hung from a bridge crossing the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

. This event was one of the causes of the U.S. military attack on the city in the First Battle of Fallujah. In the fall of 2007, a congressional report by the House Oversight Committee found that Blackwater intentionally "delayed and impeded" investigations into the contractors' deaths. The report also acknowledges that members of the now-defunct Iraqi Civil Defense Corps "led the team into the ambush, facilitated blocking positions to prevent the team's escape, and then disappeared."

In April 2004, at the U.S. government's headquarters in Najaf, hundreds of Shiite militia forces barraged Blackwater commandos, four MPs and a Marine gunner with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 fire for hours before U.S. Special Forces troops arrived. As supplies and ammunition ran low, a team of Blackwater contractors 70 miles (113 km) away flew to the compound to resupply and bring an injured U.S. Marine back to safety outside of the city.

In April 2005 six Blackwater independent contractors were killed in Iraq when their Mi-8 helicopter
Mil Mi-8
The Mil Mi-8 is a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter that can also act as a gunship. The Mi-8 is the world's most-produced helicopter, and is used by over 50 countries. Russia is the largest operator of the Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopter....

 was shot down. Also killed were three Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

n crewmembers and two Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

an gunners. Initial reports indicate the helicopter was shot down by rocket propelled grenade
Rocket propelled grenade
A rocket-propelled grenade is a shoulder-fired, anti-tank weapon system which fires rockets equipped with an explosive warhead. These warheads are affixed to a rocket motor and stabilized in flight with fins. Some types of RPG are reloadable while others are single-use. RPGs, with the exception of...

s. In 2006 a car accident occurred in the Baghdad Green Zone when an SUV driven by Blackwater operatives crashed into a U.S. Army Humvee.

Baghdad


On February 16, 2005, four Blackwater guards escorting a U.S. State Department convoy in Iraq fired 70 rounds into a car. The guards stated that they felt threatened when the driver ignored orders to stop as he approached the convoy. The fate of the car's driver was unknown because the convoy did not stop after the shooting. An investigation by the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service concluded that the shooting was not justified and that the Blackwater employees provided false statements to investigators. The false statements claimed that one of the Blackwater vehicles had been hit by insurgent gunfire, but the investigation found that one of the Blackwater guards had actually fired into his own vehicle by accident. John Frese, the U.S. embassy in Iraq's top security official, declined to punish Blackwater or the security guards because he believed any disciplinary actions would lower the morale of the Blackwater contractors.

On Christmas Eve 2006, a security guard of the Iraqi vice president, Adel Abdul Mahdi, was shot and killed while on duty outside the Iraqi prime minister's compound. The Iraqi government has accused Andrew J. Moonen
Andrew J. Moonen
Andrew J. Moonen is a former employee of Blackwater Security, accused by the Iraq government of murdering Raheem Khalif, a security guard of the Iraqi Vice-president, Adel Abdul Mahdi. Khalif died from three gunshot wounds. Moonen, originally from Kalispell, Montana, in the US, served previously in...

, a Blackwater employee at the time, of murdering him while drunk. Moonen was subsequently fired by Blackwater for "violating alcohol and firearm policy", and travelled from Iraq to the United States days after the incident. United States Attorneys are currently investigating. The United States State Department and Blackwater USA had attempted to keep his identity secret for security reasons.


Five Blackwater contractors were killed on January 23, 2007, in Iraq when their Hughes H-6
Hughes H-6
The Hughes OH-6 Cayuse is a single-engine light helicopter with a four-bladed main rotor used for personnel transport, escort and attack missions, and observation...

 helicopter was shot down on Baghdad's Haifa Street. The crash site was secured by a personal security detail, callsign "Jester" from 1/26 Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Three insurgencies claimed to be responsible for shooting down the helicopter, although such has not been confirmed by the United States. A U.S. defense official has confirmed that four of the five killed were shot execution style in the back of the head, but did not know whether the four had survived the crash.

In late May 2007, Blackwater contractors opened fire on the streets of Baghdad twice in two days, one of the incidents provoking a standoff between the security contractors and Iraqi Interior Ministry commandos, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials. The first incident occurred when a Blackwater-protected convoy was ambushed in downtown Baghdad. The following incident occurred when an Iraqi vehicle drove too close to a convoy. However, according to incident testimony, the Blackwater guards tried to wave off the driver, shouted, fired a warning shot into the car's radiator, finally shooting into the car's windshield. On May 30, 2007, Blackwater employees shot an Iraqi civilian said to have been "driving too close" to a State Department convoy that was being escorted by Blackwater contractors. Other private security contractors, such as Aegis Defence Services
Aegis Defence Services
Aegis Defence Services is a British private military company with overseas offices in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Kenya, Nepal and the United States. It was founded in 2004 by Tim Spicer, who was previously director of the controversial company Sandline International.Aegis provides security and...

 have been accused of similar actions. Following the incident, the Iraqi government allowed Blackwater to provide security by operating within the streets of Iraq.

A sniper employed by Blackwater Worldwide opened fire from the roof of the Iraqi Justice Ministry, killing three guards working for the state-funded Iraqi Media Network on February 6, 2006. Many Iraqis at the scene said that the guards had not fired on the Justice Ministry. The U.S. State Department said, however, that their actions "fell within approved rules governing the use of force" based on information obtained from Blackwater guards.

Documents obtained from the Iraq War documents leak
Iraq War documents leak
The Iraq War documents leak is the unsanctioned disclosure of a collection of 391,832 United States Army field reports, also called the Iraq War Logs, of the Iraq War from 2004 to 2009 to several international media organizations and published on the Internet by WikiLeaks on 2010. The files record...

 argue that Blackwater employees committed serious abuses in Iraq, including killing civilians.

Benazir Bhutto


In May 2007, 7 months before her assassination, Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto was a democratic socialist who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996....

 requested additional protection from Blackwater
Blackwater
- Companies :* Blackwater Worldwide, now known as Xe Services, a private military company and security consulting firm- United Kingdom :* Blackwater, Cornwall* Blackwater, Dorset* Blackwater, Hampshire...

 and the British firm Armor Group. Pakistan and the U.S. State Department both denied her request. The United Nation's investigation of the incident revealed that,"Ms. Bhutto's assassination could have been prevented if adequate security measures had been taken."

Legal status and oversight


The Iraqi Government revoked Blackwater's license to operate in Iraq on September 17, 2007, because of the death of seventeen (initially reported as eleven) Iraqis. The fatalities occurred while a Blackwater Private Security Detail (PSD) was escorting a convoy of U.S. State Department vehicles en route to a meeting in western Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 with United States Agency for International Development
United States Agency for International Development
The United States Agency for International Development is the United States federal government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. President John F. Kennedy created USAID in 1961 by executive order to implement development assistance programs in the areas...

 officials. The U.S. State Department has said that "innocent life was lost." The incident sparked at least five investigations, and an FBI probe found that Blackwater Employees used lethal force recklessly. The license was reinstated by the American government in April 2008, but in early 2009 the Iraqis announced that they have refused to extend that license. In 2009, FBI investigators were unable to match the bullets from the shooting to those guns carried by Blackwater contractors, leaving open the possibility that insurgents also fired at the victims. In a 2010 interview, Erik Prince
Erik Prince
Erik Dean Prince is the founder and formerly the sole owner of the private military company Xe Services LLC, formerly Blackwater Worldwide. On March 2, 2009, Prince announced that he was stepping down as CEO of Xe. He is currently living abroad in the United Arab Emirates, where he is creating a...

, the company's founder, said
the government is looking for dirt to support what he dismisses as “baseless” accusations that run the gamut from negligence, racial discrimination, prostitution, wrongful death, murder, and the smuggling of weapons into Iraq in dog-food containers. He pointed out that current and former executive have been regularly deposed by federal agencies.

U.S. Congress



On October 2, 2007, Erik Prince attended a congressional hearing
Congressional hearing
Congressional hearings are the principal formal method by which committees collect and analyze information in the early stages of legislative policymaking. Whether confirmation hearings — a procedure unique to the Senate — legislative, oversight, investigative, or a combination of these, all...

 conducted by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform following the controversy related to Blackwater's conduct in Iraq and Afghanistan. Blackwater hired the public relations firm BKSH & Associates Worldwide, a subsidiary of Burson-Marsteller
Burson-Marsteller
Burson-Marsteller is a global public relations and communications firm headquartered in the United States. Burson-Marsteller operates 67 wholly owned offices and 71 affiliate offices in 98 countries across six continents...

, to help Prince prepare for his testimony at the hearing. Robert Tappan, a former U.S. State Department official who worked for the Coalition Provisional Authority
Coalition Provisional Authority
The Coalition Provisional Authority was established as a transitional government following the invasion of Iraq by the United States and its allies, members of the Multi-National Force – Iraq which was formed to oust the government of Saddam Hussein in 2003...

 in Baghdad, was one of the executives
Management
Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively...

 handling the account. Burson-Marsteller was brought aboard by the Washington law firms representing Blackwater – McDermott Will & Emery
McDermott Will & Emery
McDermott Will & Emery LLP, also known by its initials, MWE, was founded in 1934 and is an international law firm headquartered in Chicago. It is one of the top 10 largest law firms in the United States and one of the 20 largest in the world...

 and Crowell & Moring
Crowell & Moring
Crowell & Moring is an international law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in Irvine, New York City, Los Angeles, Anchorage, San Francisco, London and Brussels, and around 450 lawyers....

. BKSH, a self-described "bipartisan" firm (Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

, when pursuing the Democratic presidential nomination, was also a client), is headed by Charlie Black, a prominent Republican political strategist
Political consulting
Political consulting, beyond the self-evident definition of consulting in political matters, refers to a specific management consulting industry which has grown up around advising and assisting political campaigns. This article deals primarily with the development and nature of political consulting...

 and former chief spokesman
Spokesman
A spokesperson or spokesman or spokeswoman is someone engaged or elected to speak on behalf of others.In the present media-sensitive world, many organizations are increasingly likely to employ professionals who have received formal training in journalism, communications, public relations and...

 for the Republican National Committee
Republican National Committee
The Republican National Committee is an American political committee that provides national leadership for the Republican Party of the United States. It is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. It is...

, and Scott Pastrick, former treasurer
Treasurer
A treasurer is the person responsible for running the treasury of an organization. The adjective for a treasurer is normally "tresorial". The adjective "treasurial" normally means pertaining to a treasury, rather than the treasurer.-Government:...

 of the Democratic National Committee
Democratic National Committee
The Democratic National Committee is the principal organization governing the United States Democratic Party on a day to day basis. While it is responsible for overseeing the process of writing a platform every four years, the DNC's central focus is on campaign and political activity in support...

.

In his testimony before Congress, Prince said his company has a lack of remedies to deal with employee misdeeds. When asked why Andrew Moonen had been "whisked out of the country" after the shooting death of the vice-presidential guard, he replied, "We can't flog him, we can't incarcerate him." When asked by a member of Congress for financial information about his company, Prince declined to provide documentation, saying "we're a private company, and there's a key word there – private." Later he stated that the company could provide it at a future date if questions were submitted in writing. When the term "mercenaries" was used to describe Blackwater employees, Prince objected, characterizing them as "loyal Americans."

A staff report compiled by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on behalf of Representative Waxman questioned the cost-effectiveness of using Blackwater forces instead of U.S. troops. Blackwater charges the government $1,222 per day per guard, "equivalent to $445,000 per year, or six times more than the cost of an equivalent U.S. soldier," the report alleged."Blackwater Chief Defends Firm", The Associated Press, October 2, 2007 By: RICHARD LARDNER and ANNE FLAHERTY. During his testimony on Capitol Hill, Erik Prince disputed this figure, saying that it costs money for the government to train a soldier, to house and feed them, they don't just come prepared to fight. "That sergeant doesn't show up naked and untrained," Prince stated. Moreover, he pointed out that Blackwater's employees are trained in special operations and exceed the capabilities of the average soldier.

In the wake of Prince's testimony before Congress, the US House
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 passed a bill in October 2007 that would make all private contractors working in Iraq and other combat zones subject to prosecution by U.S. courts, and Senate Democratic leaders have said they plan to send similar legislation to President Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 as soon as possible. The legal status of Xe and other security firms in Iraq is a subject of contention. Two days before he left Iraq, L. Paul Bremer
L. Paul Bremer
Lewis Paul "Jerry" Bremer III is an American diplomat. He is most notable for being the U.S. Administrator to Iraq charged with overseeing the country's occupation after the 2003 invasion. In his role as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, he reported primarily to the U.S. Secretary of...

 signed "Order 17" giving all Americans associated with the CPA
Coalition Provisional Authority
The Coalition Provisional Authority was established as a transitional government following the invasion of Iraq by the United States and its allies, members of the Multi-National Force – Iraq which was formed to oust the government of Saddam Hussein in 2003...

 and the American government immunity from Iraqi law. A July 2007 report from the American Congressional Research Service
Congressional Research Service
The Congressional Research Service , known as "Congress's think tank", is the public policy research arm of the United States Congress. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works exclusively and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a...

 indicates that the Iraqi government still has no authority over private security firms contracted by the U.S. government. On October 5, 2007, the State Department
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 announced new rules for Blackwater's armed guards operating in Iraq. Under the new guidelines, State Department security agents will accompany all Blackwater units operating in and around Baghdad. The State Department will also install video surveillance equipment in all Blackwater armored vehicles, and will keep recordings of all radio communications between Blackwater convoys in Iraq and the military and civilian agencies that supervise their activities.

In December 2008 a US State Department panel recommended that Xe should be dropped as the main private security contractor for U.S. diplomats in Iraq.

On Jan 30, 2009, The U.S. State Department told Blackwater Worldwide that it will not renew its contract in Iraq. However, in 2010 it was awarded a $100 million contract from the CIA.

Regardless of these developments, Xe has defended its work in Iraq. A company spokeswoman has said: "When the US government initially asked for our help to assist with an immediate need to protect Americans in Iraq, we answered the call and performed well.
"We are proud of our success – no-one under our protection has been killed or even seriously wounded."

Iraqi courts and legal action


On September 23, 2007, the Iraqi government said that it expects to refer criminal charges to its courts in connection with a shooting involving Blackwater guards. However, on October 29, 2007, immunity from prosecution was granted by the U.S. State Department, delaying a criminal inquiry into the September 16 shootings of 17 Iraqi civilians. Immediately afterwards, the Iraqi government approved a draft law to end any and all immunity for foreign military contractors in Iraq, to overturn Order 17. The U.S. Department of Justice also said any immunity deals offered to Blackwater employees were invalid, as the department that issued them had no authority to do so. It is unclear what legal status Blackwater Worldwide operates under in the U.S. and other countries, or what protection the U.S. extends to Blackwater Worldwide's operations globally.

Legal specialists say that the U.S. government is unlikely to allow a trial in the Iraqi courts, because there is little confidence that trials would be fair. Contractors accused of crimes abroad could be tried in the United States under either military or civilian law; however, the applicable military law, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, was changed in 2006, and appears to now exempt State Department contractors that provide security escorts for a civilian agency. Prosecution under civilian law would be through the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, which allows the extension of federal law to civilians supporting military operations; however, according to the deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's criminal division, Robert Litt, trying a criminal case in federal court would require a secure chain of evidence, with police securing the crime scene immediately, while evidence gathered by Iraqi investigators would be regarded as suspect.

A number of Iraqi families are taking Blackwater to court over alleged "random killings committed by private Blackwater guards".

On January 31, 2010, three current and former U.S. government officials confirmed the Justice Department is investigating whether officials of Blackwater Worldwide tried to bribe Iraqi government officials in hopes of retaining the firm’s security work in Iraq after the shooting in Nisour Square in Baghdad, which left 17 Iraqis dead and stoked bitter resentment against the United States. The officials said that the Justice Department’s fraud section opened the inquiry late in 2009 to determine whether Blackwater employees violated a federal law banning American corporations from paying bribes to foreign officials.

Indictment on federal weapons charges


On April 16, 2010, five officials at Xe, including former CEO Gary Jackson, Blackwater’s former president were indicted on felony weapons charges. The indictment alleged that officials falsified documents to hide gifts of weapons to King Abdullah II of Jordan.
The indictment sprang from a 2008 raid, in which 22 weapons were seized, including 17 AK 47s.

Fines for hundreds of alleged violations of US law


Court documents made public reveal that Blackwater/Xe violated federal law hundreds of times according to allegations by the federal government. In August 2010, the company agreed to pay a $42 million fine to settle allegations that it unlawfully provided armaments and military equipment overseas. However, the company is still allowed to accept government contracts. The settlement and fine conclude a U.S. State Department investigation that began in 2007.

Non-Iraq services



According to a company press release, Blackwater provided airlift, security, logistics, and transportation services, as well as humanitarian support. It was reported that the company also acted as law enforcement in the disaster-stricken areas, for example securing neighborhoods and confronting criminals. Blackwater moved about 200 personnel into the area hit by Hurricane Katrina, most of whom (164 employees) were working under a contract with the Department of Homeland Security to protect government facilities, but the company held contracts with private clients as well. Overall, Blackwater had a "visible, and financially lucrative, presence in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as the use of the company contractors cost U.S. taxpayers $240,000 a day."

Xe is one of five companies picked by the Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 Counter-Narcotics Technology Program Office in a five-year contract for equipment, material and services in support of counter-narcotics activities. The contract is worth up to $15 billion. The other companies picked are Raytheon
Raytheon
Raytheon Company is a major American defense contractor and industrial corporation with core manufacturing concentrations in weapons and military and commercial electronics. It was previously involved in corporate and special-mission aircraft until early 2007...

, Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

, Northrop Grumman
Northrop Grumman
Northrop Grumman Corporation is an American global aerospace and defense technology company formed by the 1994 purchase of Grumman by Northrop. The company was the fourth-largest defense contractor in the world as of 2010, and the largest builder of naval vessels. Northrop Grumman employs over...

, OHI, and Arinc Inc. Blackwater USA has also been contracted by various foreign governments. The DEA and DoD counternarcotics program is supported by Blackwater Worldwide in Afghanistan as well. “Blackwater is involved on DoD side” of the counter-narcotics program in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 says Jeff Gibson, vice president for international training at Blackwater. “We interdict. The NIU surgically goes after shipments going to Iran or Pakistan. We provide training to set up roadblocks, identify where drug lords are, and act so as not to impact the community.” About 16 Blackwater personnel are in Afghanistan at any given time to support DoD and DEA efforts at training facilities around the country. Blackwater is also involved in mentoring Afghan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 officials in drug interdiction and counter narcotics. As Richard Douglas, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, explained, "The fact is, we use Blackwater to do a lot of our training of counternarcotics police in Afghanistan. I have to say that Blackwater has done a very good job."

In 2005, it worked to train the Naval Sea Commando regiment of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, enhancing their interdiction capabilities on the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

. In Asia, Blackwater has contracts in Japan guarding AN/TPY-2 radar systems.

Litigation


Xe was sued by the families of four contractors killed in Fallujah
Fallujah
Fallujah is a city in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar, located roughly west of Baghdad on the Euphrates. Fallujah dates from Babylonian times and was host to important Jewish academies for many centuries....

 in March 2004. The families said they were suing not for financial damages, but for the details of their sons' and husbands' deaths, saying Xe had refused to supply these details, and that in its "zeal to exploit this unexpected market for private security men," the company "showed a callous disregard for the safety of its employees."
On February 7, 2007, four family members testified in front of the House Government Reform Committee. They asked that Xe be held accountable for future negligence
Negligence
Negligence is a failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances. The area of tort law known as negligence involves harm caused by carelessness, not intentional harm.According to Jay M...

 of employees' lives, and that federal legislation be drawn up to govern contracts between the Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 and defense contractors. Xe has counter-sued the lawyer representing the empty estates of the deceased for $10 million on the grounds the lawsuit was contractually prohibited from ever being filed. In January 2011, U.S. district judge James C. Fox dismissed the suit after no progress was made in court-ordered arbitration.
On November 27, 2004, an army report says that a Blackwater airplane, "in violation of numerous government regulations and contract requirements," crashed into a mountainside in Afghanistan, killing all six passengers on board.
Several U.S. military personnel were on board because there was space on the cargo plane. It is alleged that Blackwater staff made a series of errors leading to the plane crash, including failing to file a flight plan and failing to use oxygen masks, which may have caused the pilot to succumb to high-altitude euphoria
Altitude sickness
Altitude sickness—also known as acute mountain sickness , altitude illness, hypobaropathy, or soroche—is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude...

. The families of the three soldiers killed—Lt. Col. Michael McMahon, Chief Warrant Officer Travis Grogan and Spec. Harley Miller—filed a wrongful death suit against Blackwater, alleging negligence. Presidential Airways, a division of Blackwater, questioned the validity of the Army's report, stating that it "contains numerous errors, misstatements, and unfounded assumptions."

On November 27, 2004 an aircraft operated by Presidential Airways and owned by its sister company, Blackwater AWS, crashed in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

; it had been a contract flight for the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 en route from Bagram
Bagram
Bagram , founded as Alexandria on the Caucasus and known in medieval times as Kapisa, is a small town and seat in Bagram District in Parwan Province of Afghanistan, about 60 kilometers north of the capital Kabul. It is the site of an ancient city located at the junction of the Ghorband and Panjshir...

 to Farah
Farah, Afghanistan
Farah is a city in western Afghanistan, situated at 650 m altitude, and located on the Farah River. It is the capital of Farah Province, and has a population of approximately 109,409....

. All aboard, three soldiers and three civilian crew members, were killed. Several of their survivors filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Presidential in October 2005.

Two former employees claimed that Xe Services defrauded the federal government on a security contract given after Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

. However, in May 2011, a judge tossed out that allegation.

In June 2011, a federal judge dismissed Erik Prince from a civil lawsuit alleging that Blackwater defrauded the federal government of money when billing it for work in Iraq and Afghanistan. In August 2011, a jury ruled in favor of the security firm once known as Blackwater, rejecting two former employees' claims that the company overbilled the State Department for its work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Litigation over actions in Iraq



On October 11, 2007, the Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Constitutional Rights
Al Odah v. United States:Al Odah is the latest in a series of habeas corpus petitions on behalf of people imprisoned at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. The case challenges the Military Commissions system’s suitability as a habeas corpus substitute and the legality, in general, of detention at...

 filed suit against Blackwater under the Alien Tort Claims Act on behalf of an injured Iraqi and the families of three of the 17 Iraqis killed by Blackwater employees during the September 16, 2007, Blackwater Baghdad shootings
Blackwater Baghdad shootings
On September 16, 2007, Blackwater military contractors allegedly shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad. The fatalities occurred while a Blackwater Personal Security Detail was clearing the way for a convoy of US State Department vehicles en route to a meeting in western...

.

In June 2009, an amended lawsuit was filed in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, alleging that Blackwater employees shot and killed three members of an Iraqi family, including a nine-year-old boy, who were traveling from the Baghdad airport to Baghdad on July 1, 2007. The suit also alleges that Blackwater employees used three company aircraft to kidnap Iraqi citizens from Iraq and further accuses the company of engaging in weapons smuggling, money laundering, tax evasion, child prostitution, illegal drug use and destruction of evidence. The child prostitution charge refers to young Iraqi girls allegedly being brought to the Blackwater compound in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, identified in the lawsuit as the "Blackwater Man Camp," to provide oral sex to contractors for $1. If the court rules against Xe on the racketeering account, it could dissolve the company.

The Justice Department was originally not expected to bring criminal charges against any employees of the corporation; however, in December 2008, the Justice Department announced they were charging five Blackwater employees. On December 31, 2009 Judge Ricardo Urbina threw out the criminal case against the five guards under indictment. In announcing the dismissal, Urbina said that the prosecutors violated the guards' Fifth Amendment
Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, protects against abuse of government authority in a legal procedure. Its guarantees stem from English common law which traces back to the Magna Carta in 1215...

 rights by using the statements they gave to the State Department as evidence. Urbina said that the guards would have lost their jobs had they not given the statements, thus making the statements inadmissible. The Iraqi government has asked the US Justice Department to appeal the decision, and also plans to sue the five guards accused of killing civilians.

Video game


Blackwater Worldwide is the subject of a videogame released for the Xbox 360
Xbox 360
The Xbox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft and the successor to the Xbox. The Xbox 360 competes with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

 in the last quarter of 2011. The game uses the Kinect-supported system.

The game is set in a fictional town in North Africa, where players lead a team of operatives against warlords and other militia forces.

Ongoing controversies


In March 2006, Cofer Black
Cofer Black
Joseph Cofer Black is an American counter-terrorism expert and consultant. He had a 28-year career in the Directorate of Operations at the Central Intelligence Agency, culminating in his appointment as Director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center in June 1999...

, vice chairman of Blackwater USA, allegedly suggested at an international conference in Amman
Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

, Jordan, that the company was ready to move towards providing security professionals up to brigade
Brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

 size (3,000–5,000) for humanitarian efforts and low-intensity conflicts. The company denies making this claim.

On September 22, 2007, U.S. federal prosecutors announced an investigation into allegations that Blackwater employees may have smuggled weapons into Iraq, and that these weapons may have been later transferred to the Kurdistan Workers Party
Kurdistan Workers Party
The Kurdistan Workers' Party , commonly known as PKK, also known as KGK and formerly known as KADEK or KONGRA-GEL , is a Kurdish organization which has since 1984 been fighting an armed struggle against the Turkish state for an autonomous Kurdistan and greater cultural and political rights...

 (PKK), a Kurdish
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

 nationalist group designated a terrorist organization by the United States, NATO and the EU. The U.S. government was investigating Blackwater for these alleged crimes. On October 4, 2007, the FBI took over the investigation. Charges have yet to be filed.

Prince argued in September 2007 that there was a “rush to judgment” about Blackwater, due to "inaccurate information".

The Iraqi government announced that Xe must leave Iraq as soon as a joint Iraqi–US committee finishes drafting the new guidelines on private contractors under the current Iraqi–US security agreement. On January 31, 2009, the U.S. State Department notified Blackwater that the agency would not renew its security contract with the company. The Washington Times reported on March 17, 2009, that the U.S. State Department had extended its Iraq security contract with Xe's air operations arm, Presidential Airways
Presidential Airways (charter)
Presidential Airways is a charter cargo and passenger airline formerly based at Melbourne International Airport serving Melbourne, Florida, USA now based out of Camden, North Carolina. Presidential is now a subsidiary of Aviation Worldwide Services....

, to September 3, 2009, for a cost of $22.2 million.

Mark Manzetti, writing in the New York Times on August 19, 2009, reported that the CIA had hired Blackwater "as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda."
Newly appointed CIA director Leon Panetta
Leon Panetta
Leon Edward Panetta is the 23rd and current United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama since 2011. Prior to taking office, he served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency...

 had recently acknowledged a planned secret targeted killing
Targeted killing
Targeted killing is the deliberate, specific targeting and killing, by a government or its agents, of a supposed terrorist or of a supposed "unlawful combatant" who is not in that government's custody...

 program, one withheld from Congressional oversight.
Manzetti's sources, which tied the program to Blackwater, declined to have their names made public. The CIA was acting on a 2001 presidential legal pronouncement, known as a finding, which authorized the CIA to pursue such efforts. Several million dollars were spent on planning and training, but it was never operationalized and no militants were caught or captured. Jeremy Scahill
Jeremy Scahill
Jeremy Scahill is an American investigative journalist and author whose work focuses on the use of private military companies. He is the author of the best-selling book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, winner of a George Polk Book Award. He also serves as a...

 reported in The Nation
The Nation
The Nation is the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States. The periodical, devoted to politics and culture, is self-described as "the flagship of the left." Founded on July 6, 1865, It is published by The Nation Company, L.P., at 33 Irving Place, New York City.The Nation...

 in November 2009 that Blackwater operated alongside the CIA in Pakistan in "snatch and grab" operations targeting senior members of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The report cited an unnamed source who has worked on covert US military programs, who revealed that senior members of the Obama administration may not be aware that Blackwater is operating under a US contract in Pakistan. A former Blackwater executive confirmed that they operate covertly in Pakistan. A spokesman for Blackwater denied the claims, stating that they have "only one employee in Pakistan."

See also

  • Executive Outcomes
    Executive Outcomes
    Executive Outcomes was a private military company founded in South Africa by former Lieutenant-Colonel of the South African Defence Force Eeben Barlow in 1989. It later became part of the South African-based holding company Strategic Resource Corporation....

  • Arms industry
    Arms industry
    The arms industry is a global industry and business which manufactures and sells weapons and military technology and equipment. It comprises government and commercial industry involved in research, development, production, and service of military material, equipment and facilities...

  • International Peace Operations Association
    International Peace Operations Association
    The International Stability Operations Association , formerly known as the International Peace Operations Association , is a 501 non-profit trade association. Founded in April 2001, IPOA was created to support the private military industry and is based in Washington, D.C....

  • Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
    Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
    Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army is a book written by independent journalist Jeremy Scahill, published by Nation Books in 2007, as a history and analysis of Blackwater USA, now Xe Services...

  • Shadow Company
    Shadow Company
    Shadow Company is a documentary directed by Nick Bicanic and Jason Bourque and narrated by Gerard Butler. It is an introduction to the mercenary and private military company industry, concentrating on the role the industry has been playing in recent conflicts...

  • Blackwater (videogame), a videogame based on the organization

Books

  • Scahill, Jeremy (2007) Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
    Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
    Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army is a book written by independent journalist Jeremy Scahill, published by Nation Books in 2007, as a history and analysis of Blackwater USA, now Xe Services...

     Nation Books, New York, ISBN 1-56025-979-5.
  • Singer, P. W. (2003) Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, ISBN 0-8014-4114-5.
  • Pelton, Robert Young
    Robert Young Pelton
    Robert Young Pelton , is an author, journalist and documentary filmmaker. Pelton is considered an adventurer and a "witness" to conflict. Pelton is known for overcoming extraordinary obstacles in his search for the truth...

     (2006) Licensed to Kill, Hired Guns in the War on Terror Crown Books, New York, ISBN 1-4000-9781-9; Extensive material on Blackwater in Prologue and Chapter 2, "The New Breed," Chapter 5, "The Blackwater Bridge," Chapter 6, "Under Siege," which discusses Blackwater at An Najaf, Chapter 7, "The Dog Track and the Swamp," which chronicles Pelton's visits to Blackwater training facilities, one of which is a dog track, Chapter 8, running the Gauntlet, and Chapter 11, "The Lord and the Prince," partly about Erik Prince
    Erik Prince
    Erik Dean Prince is the founder and formerly the sole owner of the private military company Xe Services LLC, formerly Blackwater Worldwide. On March 2, 2009, Prince announced that he was stepping down as CEO of Xe. He is currently living abroad in the United Arab Emirates, where he is creating a...

    .
  • Simons, Suzanne (2009) Master of war : Blackwater USA’s Erik Prince and the business of war New York : Collins. ISBN 9780061651359. http://lccn.loc.gov/2008054005

Articles


External links



Media