Blackwater Bilked US Out of $55M for Iraq Security: Audit

Company didn't provide enough workers
By Sarah Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2009 9:46 AM CDT
A private security company armored vehicle rolls through central Baghdad on Dec. 13, 2008.    (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
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(Newser) – The US overpaid Blackwater by $55 million for its security work in Iraq, a government audit has found. The company, since renamed Xe, didn't employ enough guards, medics, and other personnel to protect high-level officials but still collected full payment from the State Department, the Wall Street Journal reports. "Insufficient manning exposed the department to unnecessary risk," the auditors said. Blackwater also overcharged for airfare to Iraq.

A rep for the company said it's been "fully compliant with the terms and conditions of the contract." In 2007, a Blackwater security team was involved in a shooting that killed 17 Iraqis. Iraq refused to renew its operating license, and the company has pulled out of the country. But Xe is seeking new government contracts in Afghanistan.