Exclusive: Court Docs Reveal Blackwater’s Secret CIA Past / Iraq War Contractors Fight On Against Lawsuits, Investigations, Fines

[thedailybeast / 14.03.2013] Last month a three-year-long federal prosecution of Blackwater collapsed. The government’s 15-felony indictment—on such charges as conspiring to hide purchases of automatic rifles and other weapons from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives—could have led to years of jail time for Blackwater personnel. In the end, however, the government got only misdemeanor guilty pleas by two former executives, each of whom were sentenced to four months of house arrest, three years’ probation, and a fine of $5,000. Prosecutors dropped charges against three other executives named in the suit and abandoned the felony charges altogether.
But the most noteworthy thing about the largely failed prosecution wasn’t the outcome. It was the tens of thousands of pages of documents—some declassified—that the litigation left in its wake. These documents illuminate Blackwater’s defense strategy—and it’s a fascinating one: to defeat the charges it was facing, Blackwater built a case not only that it worked with the CIA—which was already widely known—but that it was in many ways an extension of the agency itself.

Iraq War Contractors Fight On Against Lawsuits, Investigations, Fines
[huffingtonpost / 20.03.2013] Donald Rumsfeld declared war on the Pentagon bureaucracy on a quiet, sunny Monday seven months into his tenure as secretary of defense. Never known for his tact, Rumsfeld delivered his battle cry to a room full of Pentagon bureaucrats, who stared back at him in stunned silence. Few in the media took note of the speech, delivered on Sept. 10, 2001.

Over the next 24 months, Rumsfeld waged his war on bureaucracy by outsourcing thousands of functions performed by the Defense Department to private contractors -- and nowhere more so than in Iraq. From its earliest planning stages in 2002 to its sputtering conclusion a decade later, the Iraq War was a public-private partnership.
It's hard to overstate the influence of private contractors on the Iraq War. Starting in 2006, contractors' employees in Iraq outnumbered U.S. troops, a previously unthinkable situation for the American military. By the end of 2008, at the height of the war, there were about 180,000 contractors' employees in the country, providing both military and reconstruction services, and 146,000 U.S. troops.

The ties between members of the George W. Bush administration and leaders of some of the nation's biggest oil and defense contractors have been well documented, most notably the future Vice President Dick Cheney's lucrative tenure as CEO of oil services giant Halliburton.

Blackwater, which changed its name to Xe Services in 2009 and then to Academi in 2011, is one of the most controversial of the Iraq War contractors. It was hired at the start of the war to provide diplomatic protection services. By 2005, Blackwater's contract had ballooned to more than $1 billion, as the company provided armed security guards for thousands of U.S. diplomats and other contractors in Iraq.

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