Scahill: Blackwater now in the private intelligence business
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Thursday July 31, 2008
Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, is worried about the giant mercenary firm's latest foray into private intelligence. "They're marketing their services to not only foreign governments, but to Fortune 500 corporations," he recently told an interviewer.
The forthcoming paperback edition of Scahill's book on Blackwater, which appeared in hardcover in February 2007, will include 100 pages of new material, including a discussion of last September's shooting spree in Baghdad by Blackwater operatives -- which killed 17 Iraqi civilians but for which nobody has ever been charged.
"This is a company that has been accused of murdering Iraqi civilians," Scahill pointed out, "of shooting the bodyguard to the Iraqi vice-president, of causing blowback attacks on United States troops, of hurting the morale of the United States military -- that has cost United States taxpayers over a billion dollars for its operations in Iraq."
However, Scahill's greatest concern at present appears to be Blackwater's venture into the private intelligence business.
"Blackwater started a private intelligence company," he explained, "a private CIA essentially, called Total Intelligence Solutions. And the man running Total Intelligence Solutions is J. Cofer Black. He's a thirty-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency. He also was the guy who ran the CIA's extraordinary rendition program, the government-sanctioned kidnap-and-torture program."
"His thirty-year CIA career, his network of contacts, his knowledge that was gained through his work in the most sensitive areas of the United States government is now on the open market for hire," Scahill said sadly.
"This isn't a liberal or conservative thing," concluded Scahill. "You have a lot of traditional conservatives who are outraged at what they see as the degradation of the United States armed forces. ... This has everything to do with the future of war-making and global stability."