Erik Prince’s Brushback Pitch
In case you missed it, Blackwater founder Erik Prince outed himself as a CIA asset in an extraordinary Vanity Fair interview. Prince complained that powerful forces within the government were throwing him under the bus with anonymous press leaks about the private security company’s connections to very sensitive CIA programs. Still, the whole thing raised a question: what in the world is Prince up to?
Jeremy Scahill, Prince’s most determined journalistic foil, has an idea:
The term of art for what Prince appears to be doing in the VF interview is graymail: a legal tactic that has been used for years by intelligence operatives or assets who are facing prosecution or fear they soon will be. In short, these operatives or assets threaten to reveal details of sensitive or classified operations in order to ward off indictments or criminal charges, based on the belief that the government would not want these details revealed. “The only reason Prince would do this [interview] is that he feels he is in very serious jeopardy of criminal charges,” says Scott Horton, a prominent national security and military law expert. “He absolutely would not do these things otherwise.”
I’d say more, but I’m afraid for my life.