Blackwater is back and working for Obama in Afghanistan
A firm affiliated with the former Blackwater security company has been awarded a contract to provide protection to U.S. consulates and diplomats in the Afghan cities of Herat and Mazar-e Sharif, a U.S. State Department official has confirmed.
The official said U.S. Training Center got the contract on Friday. It is part of Xe, the new name of Blackwater Worldwide.
Blackwater became the target of widespread outrage in Iraq after its contractors were involved in the September 2007 shooting at Baghdad’s Nisoor Square that left 17 civilians dead and 24 wounded, straining relations between Iraq and the United States.
The deal is a one-year contract with an option to extend up to 18 months. If the contract is fulfilled for that entire period, it would be more than $120 million.
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, said on Saturday she was “extremely disappointed” over the deal and that the former Blackwater shouldn’t be receiving more U.S. contracts.
“This is a company whose cowboy-like behavior has not only resulted in civilian deaths; it has also jeopardized our mission and the safety of U.S. troops and diplomatic personnel worldwide. Instead of punishing Blackwater for its extensive history of serious abuses the State Department is rewarding the company with up to $120 million in taxpayer funds,” she said in a statement.
The congresswoman has introduced legislation that would phase out the use of private security contractors.
“Though the name Blackwater has become synonymous with the worst of contractor abuses, the bigger problem is our dangerous reliance on such companies for the business of waging war.”
Sooner or later, the easy rationale for the Obama Administration – things at the departmental level are still being run by Bush leftovers – will have to run out.
Responsibility for stupidity like this will have sit alongside Obama and Hillary at one of their press conferences. Presuming someone from the Washington Press Corps will ask the question.