Friday, October 19, 2007

Looking beyond the State Department?

A longtime local critic of Blackwater, reporter Bill Sizemore of the Virginian-Pilot in the Norfolk area, seems wowed by how CEO Erik Prince has handled the unprecedented national media attention.

Reading the tea leaves, Sizemore and fellow critic Robert Young Pelton speculate that Prince has decided to go on without the State Department as a client. What follows is from Sizemore's October 19 article headlined "Blackwater, Prince looking ahead after media blitz":

"'I think he’s given up on the State business,' Pelton said. 'I think he got told, "You’re outta here," and he said, "OK, I want to tell my side of the story." And that’s when you saw him on TV. …

"'I could be terribly wrong, but the way he’s burned his bridges, there’s been some huge rift between Blackwater and the State Department. … If he keeps that business it’ll be a miracle.'

"The Associated Press has quoted unnamed US officials as saying they do not expect Blackwater to continue its diplomatic security work in Iraq after its current contract expires next May.

"In an interview with The Washington Times, Prince took an unusual swipe at the State Department, expressing disappointment that it has not come to the company’s defense."

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