Jim

Memo: Blackwater fudged numbers to win fat contracts (and other items of interest)

In Biz, Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, N.C., Politics on August 1, 2008 at 6:00 pm

I try to keep an eye on news items related to Blackwater Worldwide, a North Carolina-based company that supplies mercenaries private security in hellholes like Iraq, Afghanistan, New Orleans. Partly because the privatization of the U.S. military is fascinating, partly because the Fayetteville area, home of so many elite, special ops guys, is a fertile recruiting ground. Lately, there’s been another flurry of stories.

Federal investigators are raising new questions about whether an affiliate of the controversial security firm Blackwater Worldwide should have received more than $100 million in federal contracts set aside for small businesses.

In a memorandum made public Monday, internal investigators for the Small Business Administration said the agency “did not adequately explain” how it concluded that Blackwater falls within size limits for small-business contracts.

Meanwhile, Blackwater’s getting into the private eye biz:

“Blackwater started a private intelligence company,” (Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army) explained, “a private CIA essentially, called Total Intelligence Solutions. And the man running Total Intelligence Solutions is J. Cofer Black. He’s a thirty-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency. He also was the guy who ran the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, the government-sanctioned kidnap-and-torture program.”

And here’s an interesting backgrounder on Blackwater:

Critics see Blackwater as a company that recklessly abuses the gears of war to make a buck. (Founder Erik) Prince and his devoted team view themselves as a military support staff that helps the government save a buck through an obsessive commitment to identifying and fixing inefficiencies in operations and training.

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