Is Blackwater Bidding on State Dept. Contract?
Jeremy Scahill, journalism’s most dogged investigator of the privatized military, reports that the State Department’s Worldwide Personal Protective Services contract is up for bid. Why’s that important? Because the contract — now apparently re-dubbed the Worldwide Protective Services program — is the lucrative mechanism whereby the State Department hires private security companies to protect its diplomats overseas. In the past, it’s relied on three of them: DynCorp, Triple Canopy and Blackwater/Xe Services/US Training Center. All of them have been cited for various sorts of abuses, from improper bookkeeping (DynCorp) to poor embassy security (Triple Canopy) to, uh, killing civilians and using the names of South Park characters to improperly hoard guns (guess).
But maybe not this time.
In August, Stacy DeLuke, a Blackwater spokeswoman, told me the company planned on bidding on WPS when it came up for renewal this year. According to Jeremy, though, they haven’t put in their bid yet:
Among the companies listed as “interested vendors” to bid on the contracts are the predictable list of industry giants: L-3 Services, SAIC, USIS, Northrop Grumman, and DynCorp. Two lesser-known firms in particular that have expressed interest in the contracts jump out: Instinctive Shooting International and Evergreen International Aviation.
Read on for Jeremy’s full report on Instinctive Shooting International. But it’s surprising to see that Blackwater hasn’t offered a bid yet. I called the company but was told that everyone who could speak to me has left for the day. No luck with the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which controls the contract, yet either. Hopefully tomorrow will bring clarity on this.