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Blackwater Founder Weighing Senate Run in Wyoming

He would be part of Steven Bannon's anti-establishment insurgency

(Newser) - The man who founded the controversial security contractor Blackwater is considering running for Congress, and he'll have the backing of Breitbart leader and former White House advisor Steve Bannon if he does. Erik Prince is reportedly considering a challenge to Republican Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, the Washington Post reports,... More »

White House May Outsource Afghan War to Contractors

Blackwater's Erik Prince floats his plan

(Newser) - President Trump is said to be frustrated with progress in the 16-year-old Afghanistan war, and a familiar name in US military circles is offering an unprecedented solution. Blackwater founder Erik Prince has floated a plan to the White House that it turn over most of its military duties in the... More »

Murder Conviction Overturned in Blackwater Civilian Killings

3 others convicted in 2007 incident ordered to be resentenced

(Newser) - A US appeals court has overturned the conviction of a former Blackwater security guard—and called for the resentencing of three others—who killed 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007, the Washington Post reports. Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Dustin Heard, and Evan Liberty were convicted in 2014 for opening fire... More »

Post: Blackwater Founder Met With Russian on Trump's Behalf

Sources say he was trying to set up unofficial communications channel

(Newser) - Is Blackwater founder Erik Prince secretly doing outreach for the Trump administration? According to a Washington Post report that an administration official calls "ridiculous," Prince met a Russian official close to Vladimir Putin in the Seychelles days before Trump took office in an effort to set up a... More »

Ex-Blackwater Firm Makes Millions in Futile Fight on Afghan Drugs

Guardian: Academi pulled in $569M to kill Afghan narcotics industry, which is thriving

(Newser) - The company formerly known as Blackwater has pulled in a pretty penny from US taxpayers in its Pentagon-supported drive to flush out the Afghan narcotics industry: Nearly $570 million from fiscal 2002 to September 2013 was funneled to the firm now known as Academi—about 32% of the $1.8... More »

4 Blackwater Guards Convicted in Deadly Iraq Shooting

Security contractors found guilty in infamous 2007 incident

(Newser) - Four former Blackwater security contractors were convicted today in federal court for a 2007 mass shooting in Baghdad that left Iraqi civilians dead, the AP reports. (Some accounts cite an original death toll of 14, but the BBC notes that an Iraqi investigation later raised the total to 17; about... More »

Blackwater to Investigator: We Could Kill You

After investigators uncovered drunken misconduct by guards

(Newser) - Well, that's one way to deal with being investigated. In 2007, Blackwater USA's project manager for Iraq essentially threatened to kill two State Department investigators, according to an explosive new report in the New York Times today. The incident took place not long before the private security contractor... More »

Blackwater Pays $7.5M to Settle Arms Case

Feds accused firm of rogue arms, technology trading

(Newser) - The company that used to call itself Blackwater has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle allegations of illegal arms and technology trafficking. Investigators charged the company—which changed its name to Xe and then to Academi —with 17 violations, including illegally possessing unregistered automatic weapons, lying to... More »

Blackwater, Er, We Mean Xe, Changes Name Again

CEO says 'Academi' will strive to be 'boring'

(Newser) - Blackwater's attempt to scrub clean its image by rebranding itself as Xe Services didn't really throw anyone off the scent—it was forever identified as "the company formerly known as Blackwater"—so now the company is trying again. Today, it will formally announce its new name,... More »

Blackwater Founder Forms Secret Army for UAE

$529M force for special operations, suppressing revolt

(Newser) - At a military complex amid the sands of the United Arab Emirates, Blackwater founder Erik Prince has set up a hundreds-member-strong, $529-million private army designed to suppress internal revolts, protect high-rises and oil infrastructure from terrorist attack, and conduct special operations both in and out of the UAE, reports the... More »

Blackwater Hires John Ashcroft as Ethics Head

Move shows they're still hungry for government contracts

(Newser) - Xe Services, the artist formerly known as Blackwater, has hired none other than John Ashcroft to be its guiding light on ethics. Ashcroft has been named an “independent director” in charge of Xe’s new subcommittee on governance. His job? To “promote the highest degrees of ethics and... More »

Judge Ends Blackwater Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Because the plaintiff was out of money

(Newser) - A federal judge has dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit against Blackwater because the plaintiff could no longer afford to pay for the proceedings, the Washington Post reports. The case, which blamed Blackwater for the deaths of four contractors in 2004, has dragged on for six years. Katy Helvenston, mother of... More »

Blackwater Founder Training Somali Mercenaries

Erik Prince joins forces with controversial South African firm

(Newser) - Lawless, chaotic Somalia appears to be a land of opportunity for controversial Blackwater security company founder Erik Prince. The ex Blackwater honcho—who has left the security company he created and set up shop in the United Arab Emirates—is involved in a project to recruit and train thousands of... More »

Yet Another Blackwater Case Collapses

Issues with evidence, immunity make prosecution tough

(Newser) - Legal cases against Blackwater employees accused of committing murder and other violent crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan have been collapsing one by one, the New York Times reports. This week, the Justice Department dropped a case against an armorer accused of killing a guard to an Iraqi official; the move... More »

Afghanistan Disarms Security Contractors

Including the artist formerly known as Blackwater

(Newser) - Afghanistan has begun disbanding the private security firms operating in the country, the Karzai administration announced today. Authorities have seized more than 400 weapons so far, according to Reuters . At the moment they're focusing on eight companies, including Xe Services, the artist formerly known as Blackwater, two other American... More »

Blackwater Used Shell Companies to Get Contracts

It set up 30 firms after Iraqi trouble

(Newser) - When Blackwater got into trouble in Iraq for general thuggery and lost lucrative contracts, it came up with an easy solution: It put on a fake nose and mustache and kept right on collecting government money under different names. In another damning piece about the contractor everyone loves to hate,... More »

Blackwater Settles With US for $42M

Security firm still faces other charges

(Newser) - No stranger to controversy, Blackwater has settled a laundry list of transgressions with the State Department to the tune of $42 million. The deal treats violations—which include illegally exporting weapons to Afghanistan and offering to train Sudanese troops without authorization—as an administrative matter, and allows Blackwater, now... More »

Blackwater Founder Moves to Abu Dhabi

Erik Prince no doubt hoping to leave bad press behind

(Newser) - The rumors were true: Blackwater founder Erik Prince has up and moved to Abu Dhabi, according to court documents. Sources say the former Navy Seal hopes to provide security services to African and Middle Eastern governments—and escape the bad press and legal scrutiny he's faced here. “He needs... More »

CIA Boss Defends $100M Blackwater Contract

'We need the security,' says Panetta

(Newser) - Despite criminal charges against former Blackwater security guards, CIA chief Leon Panetta has passionately defended a new $100 million contract with the controversial company. "We've got to have security," Panetta tells ABC News . “Unfortunately, there are a few companies that provide that kind of security. The State... More »

CIA Hires Renamed Blackwater in Afghanistan

Gives company $100M for 'protective services'

(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... More »

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