Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

‘Blackwater’ gets new US contract

Private Security Firm known as “Xe” has a slice of new $10B State Department despite repeated violations.

Despite US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign promise to no longer award military contracts to Blackwater – the now renamed notorious security contractor – the US state department has recently awarded the company another lucrative contract.

Blackwater was renamed Xe after a string of legal cases against the company in the US and in Iraq.

Wired.com reports that while neither Xe nor Blackwater appear on the list of eight firms hired for the Worldwide Protective Services contract (a group of contracts combined into one), one of the company’s fronts, International Development Solutions LLC (IDS) is on the list.

In total, the contract for all eight companies is worth up to $10bn.

“When I am president I will ask the Joint Chiefs for their help in reducing reliance on armed private military contractors with the goal of ultimately implementing a ban on such contractors,” Clinton said during her presidential campaign in 2008.

Indeed, Clinton was the only co-sponsor in the US senate of the Stop Outsourcing Security Act, introduced in 2007.

She used the issue to differentiate herself from her chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama, who said that if voted into office, he would not rule out the continued use of military contractors.

But reporter Spencer Ackerman, who wrote the story for Wired.com’s Danger Room, says that Clinton only took that stance “in order to gain some traction” during her campaign and that “it was clear that she didn’t mean what she said”.

Despite working for the Obama administration, where the president himself never ruled out the use of contractors, Clinton, Ackerman said, has options.

“She could stop using any particular contractor if she wanted to,” Ackerman said.

Mysterious company

It is unclear what IDS will do in order to fulfil its contract or how much its portion of the contract is worth.

A press officer from the state department returned Al Jazeera’s call, but was unable to say what specific services IDS could provide and why, given Blackwater’s tarnished reputation, (which lead to the company’s name change in 2009) it was still eligible for such a contract.

She did, however, read out a prepared statement, indicating that while the state department is aware of IDS’s ties to Blackwater, that that fact was not prohibitive in accepting its bid.
Read the entire story here

October 3, 2010 - Posted by | Blackwater | , , , ,

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