Thursday, January 7, 2010

Is the CIA Lying to Congress About Blackwater?

When the Obama administration announced that it was phasing out Blackwater (now hiding behind their name change to Xe), I was quite pleased.  Now this:

Blackwater A leading member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has told The Nation that she will launch an investigation into why two Blackwater contractors were among the dead in the December 30 suicide bombing at the CIA station at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan. "The Intelligence Committees and the public were led to believe that the CIA was phasing out its contracts with Blackwater and now we find out that there is this ongoing presence," said Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky, chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, in an interview. "Is the CIA once again deceiving us about the relationship with Blackwater?"

In December, the CIA announced that the agency had canceled its contract with Blackwater to work on the agency's drone bombing campaign in Afghanistan and Pakistan and said Director Leon Panetta ordered a review of all existing CIA contracts with Blackwater. "At this time, Blackwater is not involved in any CIA operations other than in a security or support role," CIA spokesman George Little said December 11.

But Schakowsky said the fact that two Blackwater personnel were in such close proximity to the December 30 suicide bomber--an alleged double agent, who was reportedly meeting with CIA agents including the agency's second-ranking officer in Afghanistan when he blew himself up--shows how "deeply enmeshed" Blackwater remains in sensitive CIA operations, including those CIA officials claim it no longer participates in, such as intelligence gathering and briefings with valuable agency assets. The two Blackwater men were reportedly in the room for the expected briefing by the double agent, Humam Khalil Muhammed Abu Mulal al-Balawi, who claimed to have recently met with Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri.

"It's just astonishing that given the track record of Blackwater, which is a repeat offender endangering our mission repeatedly, endangering the lives of our military and costing the lives of innocent civilians, that there would be any relationship," Schakowsky said. "That we would continue to contract with them or any of Blackwater's subsidiaries is completely unacceptable."

Under the Obama administration, Blackwater continues to work for the Department of Defense, the State Department and, as evidenced by the December 30 bombing, the CIA in Afghanistan. The company even maintains its own forward operating bases in Afghanistan, including one along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. "This is the closest base to the [Pakistani] border," Blackwater's owner Erik Prince recently bragged to Vanity Fair. "Who else has built a fob along the main infiltration route for the Taliban and the last known location for Osama bin Laden?"… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <The Nation>

I fully support Jan Schakowsky’s position here.  These GOP SS storm troopers have been nothing but trouble since Bush and the GOP dragged them from beneath a slimy rock.  I realize that Bush and the GOP entwined these monsters so deeply in US operations that completely extricating them will take some time.  They can’t just disappear.  They need to be replaced with qualified service personnel who take their orders from the C-in-C, not from ChickenHawk Cheney’s undisclosed location.  In the meantime, lying to Congress about their involvement is completely unacceptable.

4 comments:

Suzan said...

Thanks for following this scandal, sweetheart.

All I want to know is how much did Obama know and when did he decide to go along with this sham rather than expose it and bring it to a halt?

If this is too much to ask for the "change" agent we voted for, then please, somebody tell me why a few (a very few) side issues like the appointment of a transgender manager is supposed to thrill me enough to vote for him again.

Again, my thanks for all you do.

S

the fact that two Blackwater personnel were in such close proximity to the December 30 suicide bomber--an alleged double agent, who was reportedly meeting with CIA agents including the agency's second-ranking officer in Afghanistan when he blew himself up--shows how "deeply enmeshed" Blackwater remains in sensitive CIA operations, including those CIA officials claim it no longer participates in, such as intelligence gathering and briefings with valuable agency assets. The two Blackwater men were reportedly in the room for the expected briefing by the double agent, Humam Khalil Muhammed Abu Mulal al-Balawi, who claimed to have recently met with Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri.
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Jolly Roger said...

The CIA has been a f*cking mess from the day of its inception, a money pit that produces little (if any) discernible value.

Why don't we just admit it, shut the damned thing down, and start over?

Lisa G. said...

JR - you make a good point. But the problems is, we don't know what they do because it's all shrouded in secrecy. They've gotten us into some very sticky situations (Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba, etc.) that have been either really embarrassing or deadly.

I'm shocked, tell you, falling off my chair shocked, that Xe is still embedded just about everywhere. Since most of these people are ex-military, it's like no rules football. I'm sure they are supposed to be accountable to someone (the CIA that hired them perhaps?), but no one ever calls them out on their crap. And don't even get me started on that arrogant ass Erik Prince; he'd lie to his own mother's face so lying to Congress is a piece of cake for him. He and Bush have that same smirky attitude that just makes you want to go up and smack them.

And why wasn't that suicide bomber subjected to a search of some kind? Hell, we go through worse getting on a plane.

I hope that Jan gets to the bottom of this because these people are getting away with murder, literally. She's not my rep, but she is from my massively corrupt state (can you say 2 governors in a row in the pen? That's gotta be some kind of record.). She seems serious about this, so I hope that she doesn't get stonewalled.

TomCat said...

Thanks Suzan, and YVW. My hope is this. In an attempt to diffuse the partisan rancor that he correctly anticipated, he chose to keep some people who had been key players under Bush, such as Petraeus and McChrystal. Not only did his attempt at bipartisanship fail (as I said it would long before he was elected), but also, his GOP holdovers have proven disastrous for him. Running the US is so complex that a President cannot know everything that happens on his watch. He depends on others to keep him informed, most important, his chief of staff. Obama's political computer is malfunctioning. He needs to replace the Rahm. My guess is that he found out about this when we did.

JR, the CIA is polluted with executives from Bush and Bush. Clinton did not attend to fixing it. He deferred to the right when he appointed Tenet. It needs a multi-level reorganization.

Lisa, I'm not shocked, because I know how the military industrial complex works, but like you, I hope we get some answers,