Blackwater Helped CIA With Covert Raids

Guards took part in missions against suspected insurgents
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2009 9:17 PM CST
Updated Dec 11, 2009 5:46 AM CST
inErik Prince, founder and CEO of Blackwater Worldwide, 2008.   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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(Newser) – The ties between Blackwater and the CIA just keep getting deeper. A new series of interviews by the New York Times with former employees and intelligence officials spells out how Blackwater guards took part in almost nightly covert raids with the CIA against suspected insurgents in Iraq, blurring the separation between the two. “There was a feeling that Blackwater eventually became an extension of the agency," says one interviewee.

Previous reports have shown that the CIA hired Blackwater—now named Xe Services—to help run its drone flights and to participate in a program to kill al Qaeda leaders. The new details about the raids and, separately, about how Blackwater helped transport detainees after 911, show an even deeper relationship. Essentially, Blackwater's initial duties of providing security morphed into something far more involved. “They were supposed to be the outer layer of the onion, out on the perimeter,” says a former company official. Instead, “they were the drivers and the gunslingers.”

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