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Sure Blackwater Is Leaving the World of Private Security

Spencer flagged this morning that Blackwater Worldwide’s president, Gary Jackson, says the company is moving away from the private security business. Normally, I uncritically accept a Blackwater executive’s word. But there may be some indications that the war contracting behemoth is not radically changing its business model.

As Spencer asked, what does Jeremy Scahill, author of a book about Blackwater, think about the announcement? Scahill wrote in The Nation last month that Blackwater is diversifying its security work. This includes getting millions in government contracts from the Coast Guard, Navy, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. The company is also bidding for part of a $15 billion Pentagon contract to fight terrorists with ties to the U.S. “War on Drugs” in Latin America.

Scahill also noted that Blackwater is diving into the intelligence contracting world, offering “CIA style” surveillance services to Fortune 500 companies.

These business ventures likely count as part of Blackwater’s efforts to move beyond private security. But they’re not too different in substance from protecting dignitaries in Iraq.

Also, Mother Jones reported in March that Blackwater’s private security work is increasingly done with their international affiliate, Greystone Ltd. Greystone’s forte is finding guerilla fighters in Latin America and training them to do security work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Finally, the State Dept. said that Blackwater has yet to renege the private security contract the department recently awarded them. So, for the time being, Blackwater hasn’t really acted on getting out of the private security world.

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