CIA Hires Renamed Blackwater in Afghanistan

Gives company $100M for 'protective services'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2010 7:20 AM CDT
In this Feb. 7, 2007 file photo, a helicopter operated by Blackwater USA flies over central Baghdad, Iraq.   (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic, File)
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(Newser) – The CIA has secretly given a $100 million contract to Xe Services—the company formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide—to guard its facilities in Afghanistan and elsewhere, sources tell the Washington Post. The news comes hot on the heels of the revelation the State Department granted Xe a $120 million contract to guard US consulates in Afghanistan—a move that officials struggled to explain yesterday when questioned by the federal commission investigating Blackwater’s Iraq misdeeds.

The CIA meanwhile wouldn’t officially confirm the classified contract, but promised that if it did exist, it would be legitimate. “We have a very careful process,” he said. “We’ve also made it clear that personnel from Xe do not serve with the CIA in any operational roles.” An anonymous US official added that Xe has “had to prove to the government that they’re a responsible outfit,” and are now free to take on contracts. “They have people who do good work.”

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