Alleged Blackwater Murderers Had Checkered Pasts

Court revelations cast doubt on contractor's hiring practices
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 26, 2010 11:52 AM CST
Blackwater contractors in Iraq in 2004.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – A pair of former Blackwater contractors charged with murdering two people in Afghanistan had checkered pasts with the military before getting hired to work overseas, according to service records disclosed in recent court hearings. Their backgrounds are a sign that Xe—formerly known as Blackwater—employed contractors who might not be suited for the job. The military typically keeps detailed service records confidential. That makes it difficult to verify the perception that Xe fills its rosters with decorated special forces personnel.

Chris Drotleff's 3-year service in the Marines ended with an other-than-honorable discharge in 2001. Justin Cannon was discharged from the Army after going absent without leave and testing positive for cocaine. The two have been ordered held in custody, with the federal judge in Drotleff's hearing citing his "decade long pattern of refusing to obey laws orders and regulations."

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