Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wanting It Both Ways: Senators Critical of Blackwater Want Assurances It Will Continue Serving

Senators who have been critical of Blackwater are now concerned that it might quit the security business in Iraq, and want assurances that the company will continue.

They've been beating the stuffing out of the company, accusing it of all kinds of wrongdoing. But then, when the company's leaders say that the security contracts aren't worth all the heat from Congress and the media, the senators worry that Blackwater might actually leave them high and dry.
They add, with a twist, that recent news reports suggesting that the North Carolina-based company might get out of the diplomatic security business are all the more reason for the State Department not to be so dependent on private contractors.

Given these intentions, the senators want to know whether State has been assured Blackwater will fulfill its recently renewed multimillion-dollar security contract. They also want to know what the department plans to do to shore up its Diplomatic Security Service and lessen its reliance on private security contractors.

They cite recent news reports that quote State officials as saying the other two private security contractors providing services under State’s Worldwide Personnel Protective Services contract would be unable to take on Blackwater’s work if the company pulled out.

Senators Bob Casey (D-Penn.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) co-signed a letter of concerns to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

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