Blackwater's License to Kill

A 2004 agreement has come to light that shows that the CIA hired Blackwater contractors to take part in secret operations to find and kill members of al-Qaida. Those tough-guy Blackwater ops — once relegated to being bodyguards for diplomats and politicians — apparently became de facto soldiers under the Bush military regime.

The Guardian:

The CIA hired contractors from the controversial private security firm Blackwater to take part in a secret operation to track down and assassinate members of al-Qaida, it was reported today.

According to the New York Times, the deal with the firm, Blackwater USA, was agreed in 2004 but was only revealed to Congress in June this year after it was discovered by the CIA’s new director, Leon Panetta.

The Blackwater deal did not result in any assassinations, the report said, as it ran into legal, practical and diplomatic difficulties, and the programme was closed down before Panetta took over in February. It is unclear whether the firm’s employees, many of them former soldiers from US special forces, were meant to carry out the killings or simply help with training and surveillance.

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