Blackwater assisted in assassination program

It appears Blackwater offers a more extensive suite of services than once thought:

The fact that the C.I.A. used an outside company for the program was a major reason that Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A.’s director, became alarmed and called an emergency meeting in June to tell Congress that the agency had withheld details of the program for seven years, the officials said.

It is unclear whether the C.I.A. had planned to use the contractors to actually capture or kill Qaeda operatives, or just to help with training and surveillance in the program. American spy agencies have in recent years outsourced some highly controversial work, including the interrogation of prisoners. But government officials said that bringing outsiders into a program with lethal authority raised deep concerns about accountability in covert operations.

The article notes that there were no formal contracts in place for the work.  At first blush, this implies a host of governance issues in the contracting relationship.  That’s a serious breach.

By the way, the article gets its dig in at PowerPoint:

“It’s wrong to think this counterterrorism program was confined to briefing slides or doodles on a cafeteria napkin,” the official said. “It went well beyond that.”

Could the program have been misinterpreted from the slides?  Wouldn’t want to jump to conclusions…  not before all the evidence is in.

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