Saturday, October 6, 2007

The comparative costs of costly security

It appears that Blackwater's highly paid private security contractors are still more of a bargain to the taxpayer than government diplomatic security agents.

A House Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs report says that Blackwater bills the government $1,222 per security contractor per day in Iraq. That comes out to $446,030 per Blackwater guard per year.

By contrast, a single State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security agent in Iraq costs the taxpayer "nearly $500,000 a year," according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times cites Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Richard Griffin as the source.

Blackwater CEO Erik Prince repeatedly urged Congress to do cost comparisons to find out whether government or private guards make the best sense for the taxpayer. Prince adds that the $1,222 per man per day figure includes built-in costs like his company's helicopters - costs that he absorbs when those helicopters are shot down. Blackwater lost three helicopters so far this year.

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