Now the New York Times has published two articles revealing the close dealings the C.I.A. had with these murderous sociopaths. The first looked at Blackwater’s role in an assassination program and the second their involvement in putting bombs on unpiloted drone planes (in other words: the other assassination program). That article also contained the alarming news that Blackwater has a secret division whose “operations are carried out at hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the company’s contractors assemble and load Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft, work previously performed by employees of the Central Intelligence Agency. They also provide security at the covert bases, the officials said.”
Scahill has a follow-up article which includes this quote from Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky: “Erik Prince operated at the highest and most secret level of the government. Clearly Prince was more trusted than the US Congress because Vice President Cheney made the decision not to brief Congress. This shows that there was absolutely no space whatsoever between the Bush administration and Blackwater.”
I’m sure as time goes by more and more crazy lefty conspiracy theories from the Bush era will be proven to be true. For example, Tom Ridge apparently acknowledges in a forthcoming book that the Bush administration manipulated the terror threat level for political reasons. But what’s insane about these Blackwater revelations is that the U.S. government continues to pay the company millions of dollars. The Obama administration argues these payments are simply continuations of Bush-era contracts, but seriously, is there really no legal means to break a contract with a company that has committed war crimes? And how do the various facts in this paragraph from an earlier Scahill article work out exactly?
[On August 1] the Obama administration extended a contract with Blackwater for more than $20 million for “security services” in Iraq, according to federal contract data obtained by The Nation. The State Department contract is scheduled to run through September 3. In May, the State Department announced it was not renewing Blackwater’s Iraq contract, and the Iraqi government has refused to issue the company an operating license.