Ex-spy chief confirms Blackwater in Pakistan

CIA Director has canceled a contract with the former Blackwater that allowed the company's attacks as the former spy chief of Pakistan confirm the firm presence.

Ex-spy chief confirms Blackwater in Pakistan


World Bulletin / News Desk

US Central intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Leon Panetta has canceled a contract with the former Blackwater firm that allowed the company's attacks, loading missiles on U.S. drones in Pakistan as the former head of Pakistan's intelligence agency, ISI, told Iran's Press TV that Blackwater is carrying out operations in the country.

Comments of Asad Durrani came after the CIA revealed that Blackwater, which currently works under the name Xe Services, has been involved in drone attacks in Pakistan, according to Press TV.

Panetta canceled the contract earlier this year and the work is being shifted to government personnel, a person familiar with the contract said Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the classified program.

Blackwater is now known as Xe Services. A spokesman was not immediately available for comment on the contract cancellation. The New York Times first reported the contract's existence in August.

Since Jan. 28, 2008, there have been at least 67 suspected U.S. missile strikes into Pakistan, according to Pakistani intelligence officials.

The CIA said the private security company has been loading bombs on US drones that target suspected militants in Pakistan. The attacks, according to Pakistani media, kill civilians as well.

"My assessment is that they (Blackwater agents) -either themselves or most probably through others, through the locals- do carry out some of the explosions," he said.

"The idea is to carry out such actions, like carrying attacks in the civilian areas to make the others look bad in the eyes of the public."

News of the cancellation of the contract came on the heels of published reports late Thursday that Blackwater security operatives joined CIA agents in "snatch and grab" raids that took place regularly between 2004 and 2006.

"My assessment is that they (Blackwater agents) — either themselves or most probably through others, through the locals — do carry out some of the explosions," Durani told the PRESS TV.

"The idea is to carry out such actions, like carrying attacks in the civilian areas to make the others look bad in the eyes of the public."

Cancelling contract

CIA Director Leon Panetta ordered a review several months ago of the company's contracts to be sure its guards only perform "security-related work," the official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly.

But Blackwater company denied Friday that Blackwater was under contract for involvement in the secret raids.

The firm, based in Moyock, N.C., changed its corporate name this year after a series of use-of-force controversies, including a September 2007 shooting in Baghdad by five company security guards that left 17 civilians dead.

But U.S. Justice Department prosecutors asked a federal judge to dismiss the charges against one of five Blackwater security guards accused of killing 14 unarmed civilians in 2007.

The CIA's paramilitary forces rely on companies like Blackwater to provide drivers, convoy security, and perimeter protection on sensitive CIA operations.

"As is customary when intelligence community-related issues arise in the press, committee staff has contacted the CIA for additional details and clarification of these recent news stories," said Courtney Littig, a spokeswoman for the House Intelligence Committee.

If true, the company's involvement would point to a much deeper connection between the company and the spy agency than has been previously disclosed. And it would raise concerns over the legalities of involving contractors in the most sensitive intelligence operations conducted by the U.S. government.

Last Mod: 12 Aralık 2009, 18:58
Add Comment