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Blackwater Guards Tied to Secret C.I.A. Raids
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times

New York Times, December 11, 2009
Posted: December 17th, 2009

Private security guards from Blackwater Worldwide participated in some of the C.I.A.s most sensitive activities clandestine raids with agency officers against people suspected of being insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and the transporting of detainees, according to former company employees and intelligence officials. The raids against suspects occurred on an almost nightly basis during the height of the Iraqi insurgency from 2004 to 2006, with Blackwater personnel playing central roles in what company insiders called snatch and grab operations. Several former Blackwater guards said that their involvement in the operations became so routine that the lines supposedly dividing the Central Intelligence Agency, the military and Blackwater became blurred. Instead of simply providing security for C.I.A. officers, they say, Blackwater personnel at times became partners in missions to capture or kill militants in Iraq and Afghanistan, a practice that raises questions about the use of guns for hire on the battlefield. The secret missions illuminate a far deeper relationship between the spy agency and the private security company than government officials had acknowledged. Blackwaters ties to the C.I.A. have emerged in recent months, beginning with disclosures in The New York Times that the agency had hired the company as part of a program to assassinate leaders of Al Qaeda and to assist in the C.I.A.s Predator drone program in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Note: After this report was published, the CIA announced it had terminated contracts with Blackwater. The reality is that many of Blackwater's services are provided under classified contracts, with both the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command, so the denial of "contracts" with Blackwater may be deceptive.

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