Blackwater was CIA’s extension, founder Erik Prince admits

bfd1000 nic334155 Blackwater was CIAs extension, founder Erik Prince admits

In an interviewpublished Thursday by the Daily Beast, Prince revealed how deeplyconnected Blackwater was to the Central Intelligence Agency,especially in the early 2000s. Last month, federal prosecutorsdropped felony charges against Blackwater personnel after it wasrevealed that the employees had been acting under the orders of theUS government. After a three-year-long prosecution, most of thecompany’s executives walked free and two men received nothing morethan probation, house arrest and a $5,000 fine. But the tens of thousands of pages of court documents from the caseshed light on an argument the company made throughout those threeyears – that Blackwater itself was an extension of the CIA. “Blackwater’s work with the CIA began when we providedspecialized instructors and facilities that the Agency lacked,”Prince told the Daily Beast reporter Eli Lake. “In the yearsthat followed, the company became a virtual extension of the CIAbecause we were asked time and again to carry out dangerousmissions, which the agency either could not or would not doin-house.”Initially, lawmakers believed the CIA was “looking for skillsand capabilities, and they had to go to outside contractors likeBlackwater to make sure they could accomplish their mission,”said retired Congressman Pete Hoekstra. But the relationship was infact much closer than believed.When King Abdullah of Jordan visited the US in 2005, he took atrip to the Blackwater headquarters in Moyock, North Carolina,where company executives awarded him two gifts – a modifiedBushmaster AR-15 rifle and a Remington shotgun. The weapons werelabeled with the Blackwater logo, but Prince says that the CIAasked the company to give Abdullah the guns “when people at theagency had forgotten to get gifts for him”.In a 2008 raid of the Blackwater headquarters, the Bureau ofAlcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discovered that theweapons given to Abdullah had been registered as personal propertyby two employees at the agency – and there was no paperworkindicating that they were now in the possession of Jordanianroyalty.Additionally, the ATF found that many of Blackwater’s weaponshad been purchased illegally. Some of these weapons, which includedRomanian AK-47s and 17 Bushmaster AR-13s, had illegally had theirbarrels shortened and been exported to other countries in violationof federal gun laws.Blackwater argued that in all of these instances, it had beenworking on behalf of the CIA. Court documents include depositionsfrom CIA executives testifying that Blackwater provide weapons andtraining for them. One court document even lists “Erik P” as a CIAofficer himself.“The CIA routinely used Blackwater in missions throughout theworld,” one document reads. “These efforts were made underwritten and unwritten contracts and through informal requests. Onmany occasions the CIA paid Blackwater nothing for its assistance.Blackwater also employed CIA officers and agents, and providedcover to CIA agents and officers operating in covert andclandestine assignments. In many respects, Blackwater, or at leastportions of Blackwater, was an extension of the CIA.”Prince told the Daily Beast that he agreed to provide the CIAwith free services out of “patriotic duty”. And even thoughhe has since sold Blackwater, now known as Academi, for $200million, he continues to hold a grudge against prosecutors forgoing after the company.“Blackwater carried out countless life-threatening missionsfor the CIA,” he said. “And in return, the government choseto prosecute my people for doing exactly what was asked ofthem.”

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Blackwater was CIA’s extension, founder Erik Prince admits


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