The Waxman committee staff ill-prepared lawmakers for questioning Blackwater's Erik Prince, giving panel members an inaccurate figure for how Blackwater bills the government for its diplomatic security contract in Iraq.
Democrats kept repeating the figure of $1,222 per man per day in Iraq, presuming that Blackwater is scooping huge profits in the differential between what the company charges the government and what it pays its men in the field.
Prince repeatedly corrects them, adding that the committee staff-prepared profit margin figures are hugely inflated. He explains that Blackwater includes in that cost the expenses of training, equipping and supporting the security detail, as well as helicopters. This year Blackwater lost three helicopters, and the company under its State Department contract had to absorb the cost.
Blackwater's actual profit margin, Prince tells lawmakers, is 10.4 percent.