December 11, 2009 |
Highly trained personnel employed with the private security firm formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide sometimes operated side by side with CIA field officers in Iraq and Afghanistan as the agency undertook missions to kill or capture members of insurgent groups in those countries, according to a former government official and a source familiar with the operations. The actions taken by the private personnel went beyond the protective role specified in a classified Blackwater contract with the CIA and included active participation in raids overseen by CIA or special forces personnel, the sources said.
October 22, 2009
This week, a federal judge in Washington is presiding over preliminary hearings in a case in which five employees of the Blackwater security firm are accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007. A case involving the U.S. presence in Iraq is of obvious public interest, but if you want to get a seat in the courtroom -- or to read about what goes on there -- don't bother. District Judge Ricardo Urbina has closed the hearings to the public and the media. Urbina's action is an extreme and unjustifiable response to fears about pretrial publicity.
August 21, 2009 |
The CIA's decision to hire contractors from Blackwater USA for a covert assassination program was part of an expanding relationship in which the agency has relied on the widely criticized firm for tasks including guarding CIA lockups and loading missiles on Predator aircraft, according to current and former U.S. government officials. The 2004 contract cemented what was then a burgeoning relationship with Blackwater, setting the stage for a series of departures by senior CIA officials who took high-level positions with the North Carolina security company.
August 20, 2009 |
The secret CIA program to assassinate top Al Qaeda leaders was outsourced in 2004 to Blackwater USA, the private security contractor whose operations in Iraq prompted intense scrutiny, according to two former intelligence officials familiar with the events. The North Carolina-based company was given operational responsibility for targeting suspected terrorist commanders and was awarded millions of dollars for training and weaponry, but the program was canceled before any missions were conducted, the two officials said.
August 13, 2009 |
Mirza Mohammed Dost stood at the foot of his son's grave, near a headstone that read, "Raheb Dost, martyred by Americans." His son was no insurgent, Dost said. He was walking home from prayers on the night of May 5 when he was shot and killed on a busy Kabul street by U.S. security contractors. "The Americans must answer for my son's death," Dost said as a large crowd of young men murmured in approval. The shooting deaths of Raheb Dost, 24, and another Afghan civilian by four gunmen with the company once known as Blackwater have turned an entire neighborhood against the U.S. presence here.
May 20, 2009 |
Four U.S. contractors for the company formerly known as Blackwater were not authorized to carry weapons when they were involved in a deadly shooting in Afghanistan this month, the U.S. military said Tuesday. The men -- accused of opening fire May 5 on a vehicle in the capital -- have charged that their employer, now called Xe, issued them guns in breach of the company's contract with the military. One Afghan was killed in the shooting, and two others were wounded.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2009 |
A fourth lawsuit has been filed in federal court against the former Blackwater Worldwide security firm on behalf of family members of Iraqis allegedly killed by Blackwater guards. The lawsuit alleges that three Blackwater guards on a rooftop killed three guards for the Iraqi Media Network and that 20 other Blackwater employees refused to cooperate with Iraqi officials investigating the Feb. 7, 2007, shooting. North Carolina-based Blackwater has changed its name to Xe. The lawsuit was filed in San Diego because Xe operates two training facilities there, lawyers said.
March 21, 2009 |
Lawyers for the widow and young sons of an Iraqi man allegedly killed by a drunken employee of the former Blackwater Worldwide security firm after a Christmas Eve party in Baghdad have filed a damage suit in federal court in San Diego. The suit alleges that the employee got lost after the 2006 party and, after confronting Raheem Khalaf Saadoon, shot him for no reason. Saadoon, 32, was a bodyguard for an Iraqi vice president.
February 14, 2009 |
Blackwater Worldwide is still protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq, but executives at the beleaguered security firm are taking their biggest step yet to put that work and the ugly reputation it earned the company behind them. Blackwater said Friday that it would no longer operate under the name that came to be known worldwide as a caustic moniker for private security, dropping the tarnished brand for a disarming and simple identity: Xe, which is pronounced like the letter "z."
January 31, 2009 |
The U.S. State Department said it would not renew Blackwater Worldwide's contract to protect American diplomats in Iraq when it expires in May. "The department notified Blackwater in writing on Thursday that it did not plan to renew the company's existing task orders for protective security detail in Iraq," said Joanne Moore, a State Department spokeswoman. She said the contract would lapse because of the Iraqi government's decision to deny Blackwater a license to operate. The Iraqis informed the State Department last week of the denial, which was made amid lingering outrage over a September 2007 shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead.