CIA inks 100m dlr deal with former Blackwater

June 24, 2010 12:00 am

, WASHINGTON, Jun 24 – The CIA has signed a 100 million dollar contract with the private security firm formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide, to guard its facilities in Afghanistan and elsewhere, according to a news report Thursday.

The Washington Post, quoting an anonymous industry source, wrote that the classified contract with the renamed Xe Services "is for protective services … guard services, in multiple regions."

The daily reported that two other security contractors, Triple Canopy and DynCorp International, put in losing bids for the Central Intelligence Agency\’s business.

The CIA contract award comes after the US State Department last week awarded Xe a security services contract worth some 120 million dollars for work in Afghanistan.

Under the contract, Xe will provide "protective security services" at the US consulates in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif.

The controversial and secretive Blackwater was thrown into the spotlight after five of its guards were accused of killing 17 unarmed Iraqis in a gun and grenade attack, and wounding some two dozen others during a September 2007 incident at the busy Nisur Square in Baghdad.

Earlier this month, Iraq expelled 250 former employees of the security firm.

The North Carolina-based firm lost its contract to provide security for US embassy diplomats in Baghdad in May 2009 after Iraqis and others repeatedly accused it of adopting a cowboy mentality.

But a US official told The Post that there was little concern of that sort of demeanor in awarding the new contract, saying: "Blackwater has undergone some serious changes."

"They\’ve had to prove to the government that they\’re a responsible outfit. Having satisfied every legal requirement, they have the right to compete for contracts," the official told The Post.

"They have people who do good work, at times in some very dangerous places. Nobody should forget that, either."


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