Blackwater, the Next Installment

This rather wandering piece by James Risen on Blackwater has several pieces of news. First, Panetta is trying to figure out whether BW was officially involved with the CIA in “operational” missions.

Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, recently initiated an internal review examining all Blackwater contracts with the agency to ensure that the company was performing no missions that were “operational in nature,” according to one government official. [my emphasis]

Note the scope, though: Panetta’s checking whether BW was contracting with the CIA. Not whether they were involved in operational missions. Compare that to Risen’s description of his sources.

Five former Blackwater employees and four current and former American intelligence officials interviewed for this article would speak only on condition of anonymity because Blackwater’s activities for the agency were secret and former employees feared repercussions from the company.

He describes the intel folks as generic intel–which could be CIA, but also could be DOD or something else. (Just as interesting, the BW guys plead fear of repercussions from the company; remember, several BW employees have alleged that Prince was taking out whistle blowers.)

And note how quickly Risen goes from discussing the way providing security became assistance on raids–to the inclusion of Delta Force and Navy Seals.

In addition, Blackwater was charged with providing personal security for C.I.A. officers wherever they traveled in the two countries. That meant that Blackwater personnel accompanied the officers even on offensive operations sometimes begun in conjunction with Delta Force or Navy Seals teams.

Which is what the subtext of this story seems to point to: first, the possibility that the operational aspects were contracted not through the CIA, but through DOD (which would make it easier to put it through on a supplemental, and therefore much easier to hide it from the Intelligence Committees); and also the likelihood that everyone in Baghdad knew about this, but the top brass in CIA did not.

But it is not clear whether top C.I.A. officials in Washington knew or approved of the involvement by Blackwater officials in raids or whether only lower-level officials in Baghdad were aware of what happened on the ground.

And then there’s this. In Prince’s VF piece, he was sweating the various legal cases against BW. Risen implies–but does not say–that the weapons smuggling case in NC points to the use of non-authorized weapons.

… a federal grand jury in North Carolina is investigating a wide range of allegations of illegal activity by Blackwater and its personnel, including gun running to Iraq.

Several former Blackwater personnel said that Blackwater guards involved in the C.I.A. raids used weapons, including sawed-off M-4 automatic weapons with silencers, that were not approved for use by private contractors.

Which I guess would make it easier to hide the involvement of contractors.

Now, for BW’s part, they deny everything. Mark Corallo (recycled from having helped Karl Rove work the press in the CIA Leak case) denies both primary allegations that BW employees told Risen they had been involved in: snatch and grab ops in Afghanistan and Iraq, and rendition flights (and Corallo is very disciplined in denying both a CIA contract and a JSOC one on raids, but not rendition flights).

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Blackwater, said Thursday that it was never under contract to participate in clandestine raids with the C.I.A. or with Special Operations personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else.


Intelligence officials deny that the agency has ever used Blackwater to fly high-value detainees in and out of secret C.I.A. prisons that were shut down earlier this year. Mr. Corallo, the Blackwater spokesman, said that company personnel were never involved in C.I.A. “rendition flights,” which transferred terrorism suspects to other countries for interrogation.

I’m particularly fascinated by this last detail: BW didn’t fly in and out of CIA prisons. But recall that in spring 2004, the government was trying to justify flying people captured in Iraq out of country to be tortured. Hassan Ghul, who has since disappeared in a Pakistan jail, is probably a key example of someone the government tried to fly out of Iraq, in blatant violation of the Geneva Convention.

So what if BW wasn’t involved in CIA flights?

These are all fairly scattered details. But why Risen wrote them is my biggest question. Risen’s got incredible sources, but he has especially close ties to CIA. Yet this story may be as much sourced to disgruntled BW folks and JSOC folks as CIA. So why is Risen, of all people, telling this story?

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

81 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    With all the shuffling and re-shuffling of chairs, I’m losing track.

    Panetta, as Director of the CIA, reports to the DNI. Does the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency report to the DNI, or only to its own DOD bosses?

    Similarly, does the DIA have to report to the House and Senate Intelligence committees, or is it exempt from their oversight (but perhaps would be subject to the Armed Services committees)?

  2. bmaz says:

    It does seem a tad rambling and not quite as well constructed as you would expect. Was there some reason it was rushed out? What it chopped up by editing and, if so, what was the cause? Has a weird pulse of some kind…..

    • Jim White says:

      Wow. The first half of that article is of the “nothing to see here, move along” variety and fits with my comment #9. But for those who keep reading, we have this:

      A former agency officer experienced in covert operations in the Middle East said it was common knowledge that military contractors would sometimes participate in missions alongside Special Forces and paramilitary teams. He said the arrangements were made locally and were “practical,” because the active-duty forces and contractors typically shared the same training and were used to working together.

      For government employees, working with contractors offered ways to circumvent red tape, said the retired officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “There was no bench strength with either the CIA or Special Forces, so sometimes they would turn to contractors, who often had lots of the same skills,” the former operative said.

      Robert Baer, a former CIA officer, said such informal arrangements would undoubtedly lead to problems because they short-circuit normal chains of command. “Once you cede your authorities, people are no longer restrained by regulations and federal law,” Baer said. “There have been abuses; there’s no question about it.”

      Here is the M$M dipping it’s toe into the real story of JSOC activities breaking the law through joint actions with Blackwater. And it uses a named, rather than anonymous source.

      I see a big JSOC vs CIA turf battle going on here. It could get very ugly…

      • Jeff Kaye says:

        While I may have concentrated on another contractor than Blackwater, I laid out the CIA-JSOC-contractor connections in conjunction with Mitchell-Jessen and the origins of the torture program, and did so last June here at Firedoglake in a number of articles last summer, like this one:

        The chain of command for the torture program appears to have run from Bush-Cheney, to leaders of JSOC and their CIA supporters, to the “legendary” Roger Aldrich, and on down to his trusted men, Mitchell, Jessen, Baumgarten and others at Aldrich’s agency, JPRA. From thence, the program spread throughout the CIA, the Defense Department (including the Defense Intelligence Agency), especially via Joint Forces Command, and to the contracting companies that were read into the program, staffed often by compatriots from Special Operations or SERE, or ex-CIA or other intelligence men.

      • nextstopchicago says:

        In reference to the quote from Baer (“… no longer restrained by regulations and federal law”…), I don’t remember reading that last night. So maybe my memory is screwy, or I skimmed over it.

        But I went back to check, and it’s not in the Risen/Mazzetti story posted right now either. Googling, I do find it in a cbsnews story.

        Did the Times remove the quote? Or could you have crossed up sources, and accidentally quoted graphs from two different places?

        If the Times removed a quote that’s already out there in other media, I wonder why.

        • emptywheel says:

          It was in there when I read the article. Though I think it was from VF originally (I’ve read it before). In other words, I think they may have used the quote from another source without proper attribution.

  3. Jeff Kaye says:

    So what if BW wasn’t involved in CIA flights?

    Yes! Since almost everyone has forgotten about the Pentagon’s huge rendition program… about which less seems to be known than the CIA’s program.

    I wrote on this at FDL not too long ago, in a story about an Air Force doctor who got a medal for serving on these rendition flights.

    From that article:

    …the military’s rendition program is highly secret. Stephen Grey in his 2006 book, Ghost Plane, noted the existence of the military’s rendition program, and proclaimed it was larger than the CIA’s. But Grey’s research concentrated on the CIA’s program. The Pentagon’s rendition program received its first major outing in the pages of the New York Times only in August 2008:

    WASHINGTON – The United States military has secretly handed over more than 200 militants to the intelligence services of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries, nearly all in the past two years, as part of an effort to reduce the burden of detaining and interrogating foreign fighters captured in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to American military officials.

    The system is similar in some ways to the rendition program used by the Central Intelligence Agency since the Sept. 11 attacks to secretly transfer people suspected of being militants back to their home countries to be jailed and questioned.

  4. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    which would make it easier to put it through on a supplemental, and therefore much easier to hide it from the Intelligence Committees); and also the likelihood that everyone in Baghdad knew about this, but the top brass in CIA did not.

    So I clicked on over to the EW Torture Tape Timeline, to see whether I could spot any overlap with quick glance.

    Searched on “Rockefeller”: 15 hits.
    Searched on “Blackwater”: 0 hits.
    Searched on “contractor”: 1 hit, and it is very recent: April 9, 2009: CIA Director Leon Panetta bans contractors from conducting interrogations, black sites.

    Following the ‘Rockefeller’ hits, it sure appears that Congress was talking about ‘oversight’ for the CIA; not for Blackwater, Xe, nor any other private entity.

    The first is Feb 4, 2003, a briefing Rockefeller missed. Looks like he and the useless Pat Roberts, who failed to do oversight, were briefed in March 2003 and Sept 2003, around the beginning of the war and just before it was clear to even the US press that things were going off the rails.

    Fastforward to:
    March 7 2005: CIA briefs Roberts and Rockefeller on torture.

    So, from the Timeline, it appears that someone(s) had questions that were not satisfactorily answered on the 7th, because the very next day, Cheney — a former Sec of Defense, as well as former Chair of House Intel (during Iran-Contra, IIRC) — joins the CIA in briefing Rockefeller and three others, including Porter Goss:

    March 8, 2005: CIA and Cheney briefs Roberts, Rockefeller, Goss, and Harman on torture.

    Two months later, Rockefeller asks CIA for torture-related materials. (Was this was before, or after Rockefeller had taken to writing notes by hand and locking them in drawers for safekeeping?)
    May 2005: Jello Jay Rockefeller writes to CIA IG requesting terror tape investigation materials; he doesn’t receive them.

    Then, there’s an interesting couple of entries that —

    June 1, 2005: Cheney CYA document created.

    Summer 2005: Negroponte writes a memo to Porter Goss strongly advising him not to destroy the torture tapes.

    June 2005: Senior CIA Officer tells SSCI the CIA does not engage in cruel or inhuman treatment.

    Just because ‘the CIA’ doesn’t do something has no logical implications whatsoever for whether an off-the-books, black-ops, black budget contractor does something….

    And then, Cheney enters center stage again:
    July 21, 2005: Cheney attempts to persuade McCain and others not to restrict detention policies.

    Just to recap: Rockefeller starts asking around, and then all of a sudden Cheney creates butt-covering documents, starts putting pressure on McCain to shut up about torture, and Negroponte (soon to either leave, or be cut off from, the Bush administration) is telling people not to destroy the torture tapes — to no avail.

    Rockefeller’s name doesn’t reappear on this timeline until over a year later:
    July 11, 2006: Roberts and Rockefeller briefed on “potential to revive use of the [torture] program.”

    And then four months later…still no info about ‘contractors’ or Blackwater…
    November 16, 2006: CIA briefs most of SSCI (Roberts, DeWine, Rockefeller, Bayh, Bond, Chambliss, Feingold, Feinstein, Levin, Lott, Mikulski, Warner).

    At Hayden’s nomination for CIA Director, Sen Ron Wyden made some comment to the effect that he had learned things from reading the NYTimes, and he was on the Senate Intel Committee. That would certainly fit with ‘black budgets=no oversight’.

    No doubt the CIA did brief the committee from time to time.
    Too bad the Committee doesn’t seem to have had the wherewithal to dig into black budgets, and ask a lot more questions about contractors — unless they’re afraid of them?

    For all the rotten things written here about Rockefeller, I honestly don’t see anyone else in that Timeline other than Alberto Moro (and possibly Stephen Kappas) asking questions about WTF Cheney was up to, and what was actually going on with respect to torture.

    Wow, there are more levels of weirdness here than I can get my head around.

  5. Sara says:

    “Similarly, does the DIA have to report to the House and Senate Intelligence committees, or is it exempt from their oversight (but perhaps would be subject to the Armed Services committees)?”

    No, this is one of the big holes in it all, big enough to drive a Mack Truck through. DIA is part of DoD and reports through the undersecretary for Intelligence (Cambone pre Gates) to the Secretary of Defense, and it is the Sec of Defense who can be questioned by the Chair of Armed Services. Supposedly DIA is also supposed to be responsive to the Director of National Intelligence, but this has never been worked out since the DNI position was established. It is probably why Negroponte resigned the position after only about 10 months on the job.

    What makes this exceedingly complex is that much of the Intelligence Budget is in the DOD Budget — both black stuff as well as just normal funding for operations and agencies. Since the establishment of the DNI position both the Senate and House have tried to fix the problem by establishing joint finance/budget subcommittees from Armed Services and Intelligence members on both full committees — but that isn’t really a fix. It is the turf war to end all turf wars, neither congress or the bureaucracy want to give up an inch of turf so as to streamline the administrative and/or oversight functions.

    • Peterr says:

      That’s what I thought, but wanted to check it out.

      And yes, this whole thing is about turf wars and accountability (or the avoidance thereof). In that regard, the biggest weapon that each side possesses in this battle is to push for accountability of the other, which is why this stuff is coming out.

      Says the each side, “It’s not us doing these things — it’s them. Someone really ought to take a closer look at them, to make sure they’re behaving properly. In fact, if they’re really screwing up, maybe you ought to give us their job . . .”

      • Jim White says:

        Perhaps. But I always thought of Cheney and his JSOC pals as operating under toddlers’ rules:

        It’s mine.
        If I have it, it’s mine.
        If I can see it, it’s mine.
        If you have it, it’s mine.

  6. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    So what if BW wasn’t involved in CIA flights?

    Look at the rapidly expanding ‘Middle East’ budget under Liz Cheney’s division of the Dept of State.

    Look at the fact that Bart Gellman reports that Eric Edelman was pissed off because he intercepted Dept of State’s Richard Haass (now at Council on Foreign Relations) trying to open diplomatic channels with Iran. At a time when Edelman worked for Cheney.

    Look at the way that Cheney-Rummy set up OSP within DoD.

    Look at the CIA’s ‘off the books’ budgets… and at who was receiving a lot of money (apart, of course, from Chalabi).

    At this point, the odds of the CIA operating those flights seems slightly lower than the odds that I believe in the Tooth Fairy.

  7. scribe says:

    The article seems disjointed, IMHO, for any combination of 3 possible reasons:
    1. What Spencer Ackerman said the other day: “I’d say more, but I’m in fear for my life.”
    2. Risen has more, and is either unable to corroborate it enough to get it to be “fit to print”, or is kicking the bushes to see what rise he can get out of Prince.
    3. Risen and/or his editors wanted to get this out in front of something he/they knows is coming, which will either implicate Blackwater or change the frame of the discussion in a big way.

    One other, unconnected (AFAIK) point – don’t forget that Blackwater is in a bit of a pickle down in Carolina over their having had a bunch of full-auto weapons (AKs andsuch) on-premises at their conmpound, without proper permits. I recall the Sheriff having raided the place.

  8. Jim White says:

    These are all fairly scattered details. But why Risen wrote them is my biggest question. Risen’s got incredible sources, but he has especially close ties to CIA. Yet this story may be as much sourced to disgruntled BW folks and JSOC folks as CIA. So why is Risen, of all people, telling this story?

    I’m fascinated that once again, after Jeremy Scahill’s work has told us very clearly that there is a lot of illegal activity that emanated out of Cheney’s office through JSOC and Blackwater working together, we see yet another piece in the press that is saying “Look at the CIA–don’t look at JSOC”; first was Prince’s piece in Vanity Fair, which was followed by the NYTImes piece on CIA drone attacks in Pakistan (ignoring JSOC drone attacks in Pakistan). Note that the most direct reference to JSOC in Risen’s article comes in a quote from Blackwater, not from something otherwise coming naturally from his narrative.

    This piece gives me the very uneasy feeling that Risen is being played. I find that troubling because Risen has been so reliable in the past. If he is now compromised (does the rambling, disjointed nature of the piece give us clues that this piece also made him uneasy?) then there is even more reason to be concerned.

    • Rayne says:

      I think you are very close to the crux — CIA v. JSOC — if you think about Iran Contra and Church Commission.

      — Institutionally there were holes in capability in CIA’s organization post-Church, exacerbated by the findings of Iran Contra.

      — The holes were both a combination of bugs/features. It’s not a bug that the CIA could not assassinate targets, but it was a bug that they could not scale up flexibly or that oversight applied only to CIA and not to DIA.

      — It was a feature, depending on where your loyalties were, for CIA to be neutered and appear to be incompetent; it was the tar baby to which all blame could be stuck fast, and the honey pot to attract attention away from the program(s) operating under DOD’s umbrella.

      The redirection isn’t working, though, because there’s now a body of content which clearly shows a much heavier footprint than CIA.

      Or footprints, plural.

  9. Citizen92 says:

    Data point.

    Risen’s article quotes Mark Corrallo as Blackwater’s spokesman.

    Back to that in a moment.

    I’ve said this before, but something major is up. Prince and Blackwater do not do media. The last time they did was for major damage control in 2007 when Waxman was holding hearings. Prince did a lot of media, 60 Minutes, an hour with Charlie Rose, etc.

    Now he again pops up from exile, being open and frank in Vanity Fair.

    Back to Corrallo. One may recall that Mark worked in the Ashcroft Public Affairs Office at DOJ? You may remember that he, Barbara Comstock and Monica Goodling were a team? You may remember that Corrallo was part of Rove’s defense team when allegations of involvement of outing Valerie Plame were floating?

    And you may know that Corrallo now has his own PR firm with Comstock? And that Corrallo was in the Army?

    Anyway. My longwinded way of saying… Corrallo, defending Blackwater. Big gun. Interesting choice.

    • qweryous says:

      and 24 and 30.

      From the NYT article by John M Broder and James Risen , several Washington lawyers involved with Blackwater are listed.

      Stephen M Ryan from his bio at McDermott Will and Emery :

      “…He provides lobbying litigation and counseling services, often for the high- technology community, and companies in highly regulated industries.He has broad experience in addressing the combined legal, political and press related challenges stemming from congressional oversight and investigation.”

      Also “…He is a leader on internet governance issues and often attends international forums addressing such issues.”

      Also “He is co-author of a book on procurement ethics and has published numerous professional articles on congressional policy-making, and the interface of criminal and government procurement law.”

      other interesting details are present in his bio.

      Bio link:

  10. fatster says:

    Interesting O/T:

    Guantanamo Detainee’s Family Sues Kenya For $30 Million

    This is Mohamed Abdulmalik, whom US claims is A-Q and was active in the 9/11 attacks.

    “The case raises questions about the legal justifications for Abdulmalik’s U.S. detention, and why the Kenyan was flown to so many U.S. bases.”


  11. Leen says:

    While CPT member and dear friend Peggy Gish was in Baghdad from late 2002 through 2006 it was simply amazing how her letters would be filled with descriptions and reports that they had taken from released detainees and family members of detainees in Abu Gharib, rumours of U.S. gun running, of alleged contractors blowing up the Golden Mosque in Samarra. Many insights and claims would come in her letters far before they would ever make U.S. papers.

    Will never forget when Peggy was writing us that CPT had gone to U.S. officials in late summer of 2003 with their reports about serious detainee abuse and were told to “go away”

    I have had the chance to talk to numerous U.S. soldiers who were soon to return to Iraq on their third and fourth trips back. Heard stories about soldiers freaking out and using Iraqi people as target shooting, the brutal raids of peoples houses, unfuckingbelievable stories.

    What a fucking quagmire…what an International crime.

  12. Citizen92 says:

    I spent a little more time reviewing Corallo’s flacking for BW. Apparently BW had retained him to be a spokesman around 2006.

    In 2007, Corallo noted in a National Review editorial (in which he called the men/women of Blackwater ‘patriots’) that he stopped being spokesman b/c the State Department imposed a ‘gag order’ on BW and an unnamed ‘State Department bureaucrat’ threatened to ruin BW if they didn’t go radio silent.

    Sounds a little like sour grapes on Corallo’s part, the State Dept cutting off the gravy train.

    Anyway, Corallo seems to say that BW was State’s baby. Maybe Panetta should check the State Dept’s files for BW contracted support for the CIA. I mean, State official cover has been used for years as coverstory for CIA in country officers.

    Also, someone should see if Assistant Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy knows anything about this. Bushco put him in charge of doing State’s damage control for BW. And Hillary kept him on in the same position.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Is Corallo pals with the Cheneys?

      And although I have no clue whatsoever whether your surmise here is correct or not:

      Anyway, Corallo seems to say that BW was State’s baby. Maybe Panetta should check the State Dept’s files for BW contracted support for the CIA. I mean, State official cover has been used for years as coverstory for CIA in country officers.

      State Dept’s a big place. But google ‘Liz Cheney’ + ‘Dept of State’ and you’ll get over 90,000 hits. May as well start with Wikipedia** [but don’t take it as literal truth, just as a ‘tea leaf’]:

      In February 2005, she returned to the US State Department and was appointed the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State For Near Eastern Affairs and Coordinator for Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiatives…

      Elizabeth Cheney also headed the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group (ISOG), established in March 2006, a unit within the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
      In April 2006, The New York Times published a story critical of Cheney’s work, particularly with respect to Iran. Of particular scrutiny was a grants program administered by Elizabeth Cheney’s unit, in collaboration with a Republican-affiliated foundation, the International Republican Institute.[17] The Times maintained that when the group became controversial, with critics saying that it was plotting covert actions that could escalate into war with Iran and Syria, the group was disbanded, by May 2006.

      So with Liz Cheney overseeing a very, very large budget (and who knows what ‘off books, Enron-like budgets and shell non-profits and shell companies), there were no doubt any number of people who would have been at State and insisting on ‘radio silence’.

      Be interesting if we ever find out who it was… or whether they are still on the planet to speak about it.

      **Just a note that I didn’t check the History of changes on the Liz Cheney Wikipedia page, but it does get updated more than the usual Wikipedia page, as near as I can tell. Which is another interesting ‘tea leaf’.

    • bobschacht says:

      Anyway, Corallo seems to say that BW was State’s baby.

      That’s been my impression, too, since they retained BW contracts after every outrageous thing they did, on the grounds that they were indispensible.

      Bob in AZ

  13. Gitcheegumee says:

    How about one of Blackwater’s subsidiaries being involved in the rendition flights- namely, Satelles Solutions,Inc.-a subsidiary of Greystone-which is a subsidiary of Blackwater?

    I posted this on an earlier EW thread i.e., “Is Prince Graymailing?”

    re:Satelles Solutions-division of Blackwater

    The intelligence service commissioned Blackwater and its subsidiaries to transport terror suspects from Guantanamo to interrogations at secret prison camps in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. The paper identifies aircraft movements and unveils how the flights were disguised.
    The memo reads: “The CIA hired Blackwater to conduct extraordinary renditions” and “Blackwater flew the rendition targets from Fort Perry and Cuba to Kandahar, Afghanistan.”

    ‘The CIA Hired Blackwater’

    According to the informant, some of the flights were provided by two other companies Prince owned, Presidential Airways and Aviation Worldwide, which were given special clearance in 2003 by the US Defense Department to conduct such flights. Source B even knew the tail numbers of the aircraft that were allegedly involved: N962BW, N964BW and N968BW.

    The flights also involved Satelles Solutions, another Prince subsidiary, which operates a training and recruitment camp in the Philippines designed to accommodate about 1,000 soldiers.
    According to Source A, Blackwater also helped out the CIA with another controversial activity during the Bush years. In the memo, Source A writes: “The CIA hired Blackwater to conduct targeted killings in Afghanistan.”

    Merchants of Death,excerpt der Spiegel,online

    Gitcheegumee December 5th, 2009 at 1:32 pm 13608/24/2009
    Merchants of Death
    Memo Reveals Details of Blackwater Targeted Killings Program
    By Gabor Steingart in Washington

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      The Satelles Solutions company is based in the Phillipines.

      Just this past week martial law was declared in the Phillipines because of political unrest between warring factions inside the government.

  14. WilliamOckham says:

    Let me pull out my handy-dandy Mark Corallo decoder ring (it’s in here somewhere… ah, there it is right next to my copy of Anatomy of Deceit.)

    Accusation: Blackwater employees participated in CIA raids
    Corallo Response: Blackwater was never under contract to participate in covert raids and “any allegation to the contrary by any news organization would be false.”

    Translation: Hell, yeah, we were kicking butt, but we made sure our contract didn’t say that.

  15. Citizen92 says:

    Blackwater had also retained Fred Fielding (before he became WH Counsel) and Ken Starr for a period of time, according to a 2007 NYT Article, “Blackwater Mounts A Defense with TOP Talent.”

    In 2007, Corallo said he bailed on Blackwater because he didn’t appreciate the ‘cowboy mentality’ of some top BW executives.

    • Rayne says:

      So why’s Corallo back?

      — Because it’s Xe, not Blackwater?
      — Because THE top cowboy left, in a strictly legal sense?
      — Because the stakes are so high that they let Corallo name the price and terms?

      Yeah, uh-huh…

  16. Gitcheegumee says:

    On October 7,2001, the Us and the UK invaded Afghanistan.

    The “Snatch and Grab” terminology is,to my ear, remarkably reminiscient of Rumsfeld’s directive to the special ops re: the Afghani invasion of October 7,2001,namely the Copper Green program:

    Copper Green is reported by American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh to be one of several code names for a U.S. black ops program, according to an article in the May 24, 2004 issue of The New Yorker.
    According to Hersh, the task force was formed with the direct approval of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, and run by Deputy Undersecretary Stephen Cambone. Hersh claims the special access program members were told “Grab whom you must. Do what you want”. The program allegedly designe physical coercion and sexual humiliation techniques for use against Muslim Arab men specifically, to retrieve information from suspects, and to blackmail them into becoming informants.

    Hersh claims to have spoken to a senior CIA official who said the program was designed by Rumsfeld to wrest control of information from the CIA, and place it in the hands of the Pentagon. According to Hersh’s sources, the program was so successful in Afghanistan, that Cambone decided to introduce the SAP program to operations during 2003 invasion of Iraq, eventually leading to the use of common soldiers instead of using special ops forces exclusively. In Hersh’s view, the program was used on detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison, leading directly to the prisoner abuse by US soldiers there….Wikipedia

    NOTE: This “Copper Green” snatch and grab was in fall of 2001. According to Risen’s article, just a few months later, in the spring of 2002, Eric Prince offered to guard the CIA station in Kabul,and shortly thereafter ,signing a security contact with Alvin Krongard.

    One could ponder upon what previous performance and service did Blackwater qualify for this contract?

    Just conjecture,but could Blackwater contractees be involved in Abu Graib torture,torture elsewhere,also?

  17. Mary says:

    I wonder if some of the disjointedness is related to not wanting to refer to something like the Vanity Fair article, which obviously “scooped” them on a lot of fronts. Or, perhaps Risen or others at NYT have been “briefed” on some things and have to worry now about printing something that ties too closely to something they were briefed on?

    Here are some of the things I don’t think make sense and are just poor journalism. Risen has his anonymous Blackwter and intel sources, WaPo trots out an anonymous former gov official and anonymous “source familiar with the operations.”

    Neither piece refers to the fact that Prince has recently claimed that he was operating not as a contractor, but as a CIA asset, raising questions as to what types of briefing should have been provided to Congress and intelligence committees about his involvement. Neither piece refers to Prince saying that, as a CIA asset, he used his company personnel to actively participate in targeting civilians for spec forces killings in Syria:

    Prince claims he and a team of foreign nationals helped find and fix a target in October 2008, then left the finishing to others. “In Syria,” he says, “we did the signals intelligence to geo-locate the bad guys in a very denied area.” Subsequently, a U.S. Special Forces team launched a helicopter-borne assault to hunt down al-Qaeda middleman Abu Ghadiyah. … doubts have emerged about whether Ghadiyah was even there that day, as detailed in a recent Vanity Fair Web story by Reese Ehrlich and Peter Coyote.

    They also don’t mention the Nation’s report by Scahill that two men who have worked for Blackwater have filed affidavits claiming that Prince is tied to killings of cooperating witnesses.

    I don’t know how you do either the NYT or WaPo story without at least fast mentions of these public and published matters of record. That allegations have been made in a VA civil proceeding that Prince and Blackwater may have been involved in killing a cooperating witness and that Prince has recently admitted to Blackwater’s involvement in operating in Syria and targeting the persons killed in a JSOC strike in Syria that left a 6 yo alone, surrounded by his bleeding, unconscious mother and 6 bullet riddled bodies, including his father.

    How do you not mention those things in these stories? They aren’t secret – but you would have to attribute and I guess acknowledging that sources like the Nation and Vanity Fair have “preceded them” and have done so with statements directly attributable to Prince – as opposed to anonymous interests – isn’t the easiest path for those papers o record to take.

    This whole issue – of whether Prince was a CIA asset or a contractor and whether he operated Blackwater as an independent contracting service or as a CIA asset – is a pretty damn important point. If Blackwater was acting as a CIA asset in marking the Syrian men for killing and calling in the special forces to cross into Syria and make that killing, that’s the kind of involvement that should have been briefed to intel committees. I’d guess that’s why Panetta ran over so quickly.

    I also would tend to think the articles would mention that the DOJ withdrew charges against one of the Blackwater employees involved in the Nisoor Square killings shortly before Prince’s public revelations about his status as a CIA asset.

    I have not idea what the VA action in Scahill’s piece will end up going or how credible the men filing the affidavits there are, but if the claims are credible, you might have a pretty darn big fight on with CIA and FBI – if an FBI or even a military investigation cooperating witness really was killed, you have to wonder about the reaction to just close down any response or consequence on that, because it invovles CIA assets and states secrets.

    I can agree that CIA stuff is being leaked to distract from DoD stuff that has never been briefed to armed services committees either – but Prince saying that he was a CIA asset is also tantamount to saying that House and Senate intel committees were excluded from required briefings on the actions of Prince as a CIA asset and his use of Blackwater as a CIA extension/front. I have to think the reason to do that is to spur the CIA to protection on some front or another that involves Prince’s self interest. There are so many possiblities there – alleged killings in Syria, of cooperating witnesses, ofother civilians in Iraq, of the bodyguard in Iraq and smuggling the killer out of the country, of gun running, etc.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      Wonderful points, imho opinion,Mary-as usual.

      I was just thinking about the events of this past August, especially related to Blackwater-and MOST especially regarding the case you mentioned filed by previous Blackwater employees.

      A case alleging,among other things, Prince himself implicated in murder.

      Now, with Prince “outing” himself as a CIA asset, another August incident came to mind. The defense lawyers for some of the Guantanamo detainees took photos of CIA operatives and contractees to show to the prisoners for purposes of identifying their torturers.

      Perhaps it was BECAUSE it was summertime,but the incident got little play-that I recall-but the US government reaction did merit a piece in the NYT and Wa Po.

      Here’s snippet:

      A wide variety of groups, including European investigators, human rights groups and news organizations, have compiled lists of people thought to have been involved in the CIA’s program, including CIA station chiefs, agency interrogators and medical personnel who accompanied detainees on planes as they were moved from one secret location to another.

      “It’s a normal part of human rights research projects, and certainly in defense work, to compile lists of individuals who interacted with clients,” Romero said.

      Tracking international CIA-chartered flights, researchers have identified hotels in Europe where CIA personnel or contractors stayed. In some cases, through hotel phone records, they have been able to identify agency employees who jeopardized their cover by dialing numbers in the United States. Working from these lists, some of which include up to 45 names, researchers photographed agency workers and obtained other photos from public records, the sources said.

      The government has largely cut off the airing of details about the CIA’s interrogation program during proceedings at Guantanamo Bay, although many have been revealed in government documents.

      “Detainess Shown CIA officers’ Photos”,Peter Finn, August 21, 2009 WaPo
      Linky to follow

      NOTE: Wouldn’t it be interesting if some of the Blackwater,Satelles Solution,Greystone (aka Blackwater) contractees were in those photos?

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      The CIA’s History of Bamboozling The Congress | The Public RecordBy Melvin A. Goodman Let me be clear about this, CIA director Leon Panetta told his troops last week, it was not CIA policy or practice to mislead Congress.…/the-cia-and-its-history-of-bamboozling-the-congress/ – Cached

    • emptywheel says:

      How do you not mention those things in these stories? They aren’t secret – but you would have to attribute and I guess acknowledging that sources like the Nation and Vanity Fair have “preceded them” and have done so with statements directly attributable to Prince – as opposed to anonymous interests – isn’t the easiest path for those papers o record to take.

      With respect to the limited question of why Risen didn’t repeat the VA allegations, I don’t agree.

      He describes the BW guys fearing retaliation from BW.

      That might mean they’re the same people who filed the affys, in which case mentioning them would make it clear who your sources were, or it could be taht there’s more in that direction coming from these sources.

      In any case, there seem to be some possible good journalistic reasons not to repeat that claim.

      • Mary says:

        There might be a reason not to mention it, but I don’t buy it.

        The affidavits were given by two men – they are public and have been published so it doesn’t make sense that mentioning them would indicate who your sources are – none of those guys are MY sources, but I know about the Scahill article and affidavits. Risen’s story refers to nine sources, 5 former BW employees and 4 current intel guys and I can’t imagine, if he were writing about, oh, say an alleged mafia member, and that guy had employees in a civil suit alleging he had made a witness disappear, that the passage quoted wouldn’t have been expanded on to be something like:

        Five former Blackwater employees and four current and former American intelligence officials interviewed for this article would speak only on condition of anonymity because Blackwater’s activities for the agency were secret and former employees feared reprercussions from the company. In addition to aggressive litigation such as Blackwater’s suits against the families of the Blackwater employees killed in Fallujah, a civil case pending in Virginia includes allegations that officer of Blackwater may have caused death or injury to a cooperating witness in an investigation.

        How do you have a case filed that’s been discussed like the VA case in Scahill’s article and then when you mention that people are saying they are staying quite bc they “fear repercussions” and not mention it? There might be a reason, but I don’t buy that it would tip off who the sources are.

        BTW – it’s interesting that Risen only gives a reason for the former employees on the anonymity front – not the current intel guys. Generally they do at least work in some kind of reference (due to classified nature of information, due to pending investigations, because they have not been authorized to speak on the record, etc.) as to why the intel guys are anonymous too, but here it’s all bc of the ex-employees fear of repercussions. Maybe that means some fast paced editing was involved?

        And even with that, how you ignore – in both pieces – that Prince himself as “come out” and claimed to be a CIA asset and to have had involvement in setting up people for killing in Syria —- I just don’t see how that escapes mention in either story.

        • Rayne says:

          Perhaps people actually in the business who haven’t been outed don’t want to touch anything proximate to a highly compartmentalized program…

          And maybe NYT and WaPo don’t want to, either, or have been warned off.

          • Mary says:

            Whether or not people in “the business” want to talk about it or not is to the side of the point. “It” has already been talked about – publically – in the VA suit, in Scahill’s article in The Nation and in the Vanity Fair piece on Prince.

            Whether WaPo and NYT have been warned off or not is relevant, but doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have to answer for the fact that while they are dribbling out piecemeal plants of info on whether or not Blackwater might have been involved in going on CIA missions, they are refusing to report the explosive allegations in the VF piece – that Prince himself says that he was not just the president of a contractor working for Gov, but rather that the CIA had recruited him as an asset and that Blackwater was directly involved in going into a country with whom we are not at war to target individuals in that country for a special forces raid to kill them.

            This is very much like when the Gonzales memo came out and everyone let Tim Russert and the msm discuss whehter or not canteen provisions of the Geneva Conventions really were “quaint” and outmoded instead of talking about his assertion that the administration was engaging in activities that were war crimes under the War Crims Act (which doesn’t cover canteen violations) unless they could make up a reason the Conventions didn’t apply.

            If all the discussion gets sucked over to the “did contractors go on raids” topic, it doesn’t leave any oxygen for the Prince as CIA asset and Blackwater calling up hit squads on civilians in other countries issues.

            @73 – I thave to believe (even after the Italian job) that anyone in the business who wants to get in touch with EW but doesn’t want to participate in comments for legitimate fears and reasons is going to come up with a better way than email to contact her.

            @70 RTL – Chevron, not Exxon, but I think he is still there. Just like Larry Thompson is happily getting the big bucks at Pepsico and Pepsico’s CEO is getting the invites to that hot ticket to the WH that the Salahis crashed.

            • Rayne says:

              I was suggesting to alinaustex that the person he was asking (and others) may not be prepared to post in this venue in public for a number of reasons.

              I’m sure you’re aware that Prince has been accused of murdering former employees. And I know you’re aware that we are discussing programs which are likely compartmentalized in a way that leaking may be prosecutable.

              Whistleblowers are going to use their own judgment since they have skin in the game. They will have to take your point about message control into consideration, but I’m pretty confident they are well aware of this facet.

              Readers might also do well to keep in mind the challenges of reporting on these kinds of stories; most prudent editors are going to expect a level of validation by multiple sources before they will allow content this sensitive out for publication. Folks have also noticed issues with flow in Risen’s piece, for example; it could be due to content which couldn’t be published now for lack of adequate vetting. How would you report on a single whistleblower’s claims about a classified program? And if you were the whistleblower, would you worry about control of the story or simply getting it out there, or worry about your back? It’s not quite as easy as it seems.

              • bobschacht says:

                Folks have also noticed issues with flow in Risen’s piece, for example; it could be due to content which couldn’t be published now for lack of adequate vetting.

                This kind of problem most likely arose from material deleted from Risen’s piece, without doing any re-writing to sew up the gaps.

                Bob in AZ

              • Mary says:

                I’m sure you’re aware that Prince has been accused of murdering former employees. And I know you’re aware that we are discussing programs which are likely compartmentalized in a way that leaking may be prosecutable

                Yes, I’m aware of that – it is one of the two big items that I mentioned @37 and @65 that is a matter of public record (the VA suit with the two affidavits re: the accusations of Prince being involved with killing or disappearing a coopearting witness and the VF article re: Prince saying he was a CIA asset)and which Risen didn’t mention in his story. That was the point – that these matters are public now. I know about them and lots of other people know abou them, but Risen didn’t even mention what has been published already about these items in his story, despite how relevant they are.

                most prudent editors are going to expect a level of validation by multiple sources before they will allow content this sensitive out for publication

                The fact that “I” know about that is the whole point. I have no sources and don’t need them to know about it. It doesn’t take any new whistleblowers for Risen to mention the lawsuit when he mentions fear of repercussions. It doesn’t take a cadre of cross-checked sources to report that Prince has given an interview to Vanity Fair in which he claims that he was a CIA asset and that BW targeted people in a foreign country for special operations to kill.

                That’s why I had responded to you earlier (and why I’m so puzzled that you are now mentioning as if it hasn’t been the center of the comments, that Prince has been accused of such killings)
                “Whether or not people in ‘the business’ want to talk about it or not is to the side of the point. ‘It’ has already been talked about – publically – in the VA suit, in Scahill’s article in The Nation and in the Vanity Fair piece on Prince.”

  18. Leen says:

    Remember Peggy Gish talking about this on one of her return trips

    Feared as ruthless foes, veterans of Guatemala’s Kaibiles elite military force are finding employment as cheap mercenaries in the Iraq war Iraq Wa
    Iraq War
    or Second Persian Gulf War

    Brief conflict in 2003 between Iraq and a combined force of troops largely from the U.S. and Great Britain; and a subsequent U.S. or as better-paid killers in the narcowars raging in Central AmericaCentral America, narrow, southernmost region (c.202,200 sq mi/523,698 sq km) of North America, linked to South America at Colombia. It separates the Caribbean from the Pacific.
    Interviewed by the Guatemalan press recently, a former Kaibil recounted how he was recruited, trained, and deployed in Iraq as a contractor for a private US-based security firm.

    “Jorge” said he and 11 other former Kaibiles underwent extra training at a camp in Honduras before being shipped to Iraq. “When we were trained in Honduras, we were told that nobody in Iraq is a friend,” Jorge said, “and that everyone–children, women, and men–were enemies, and that in any incident it was necessary to kill.”

    Once in Iraq, Jorge found himself in the company of other Latin Americans This is a list of notable Latin American people. In alphabetical order within categories. Actors

    Norma Aleandro (born 1936)
    Héctor Alterio (born 1929)

    from Honduras, El Salvador, Chile
    Kristina Mani Mani (mä`nē): see Manichaeism.
    or Manes or Manichaeus

    ….. Click the link for more information., has documented the presence of at least 1,000 Peruvian and 700 Salvadoran security personnel in Iraq, as well as Colombians, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, and Hondurans.

    “We guarded trucks, embassies, and government functionaries, and we carried out night patrols,” Jorge said. The one-time elite soldier said that Latin American military contractors in Iraq earn between US$2,000 and US$5,000 monthly–far less than the salaries paid to security personnel from the US by firms like Blackwater USA Blackwater USA is a private military company[2] founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark. It has alternatively been referred to as a security contractor or a mercenary organization by numerous reports in the international media. . Nonetheless, Jorge said he was able to save up money and open a small business with his wife when he returned to Guatemala.

    Reports of former Guatemalan Kaibiles like Jorge serving as mercenaries in foreign conflicts are stirring renewed concerns in some quarters about veterans of the military force. Founded in 1974, the Kaibiles undergo a grueling and, by many accounts, brutal training at a jungle camp in the northern department of Peten (see NotiCen, 2005-02-17, 2000-03-30). Human rights organizations and Guatemala’s Truth Commission (Comision de Esclarecimiento Historico, CEH CEH Certified Ethical Hacker
    CEH Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
    CEH Comisión de Esclarecimiento Histórico
    CEH Centre for Environmental Health
    CEH Continuing Education Hour
    CEH Complex Electronic Hardware
    CEH Colorado Evidentiary Hearing ) linked the Kaibiles to widespread human rights violations during the civil war that ended in 1996. Kaibiles were implicated im·pli·cate
    tr.v. im·pli·cat·ed, im·pli·cat·ing, im·pli·cates
    1. To involve or connect intimately or incriminatingly: evidence that implicates others in the plot.

    2. in numerous massacres of indigenous Mayan communities.

    Kaibiles linked to violence in region

    Besides their involvement in Iraq, former and current Kaibiles have been tied to the violence underway between rival drug cartels in Mexico and Central America. In one recent case, for instance, ex-Kaibil Angel Rivas, or Jose Alfredo Romero Salazar, was detained with a group of narco gunmen in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Carlos Martinez, a former Kaibil officer and 2005 veteran of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Congo, is under investigation by Mexican law-enforcement authorities for his alleged involvement with organized crime.

    Reportedly, both the Gulf and Sinaloa drug cartels of Mexico have looked to the Kaibiles as ideal trainers and security men. Los Zetas, the armed enforcers of the Gulf cartel, have run military training camps the Mexican states of Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, and Michoacan where new recruits are given basic and advanced instruction (see SourceMex, 2005-10-19 and 2006-07-26). When combined, the specialized military backgrounds of both the Zetas and the Kaibiles give cartels deadly, professional power.

    Some Guatemalans warn that the Kaibiles low pay and lack of employment opportunities after service provide fertile ground for the eventual recruitment of the highly trained soldiers as mercenaries and assassins. The special troops can earn up to 1,800 quetzales monthly (about US$234) while serving with the state. Drug cartels, on the other hand, reportedly pay at least US$5,000 for special assignments like escorting and guarding drug shipments.

  19. Citizen92 says:

    @32 bmaz

    Blackwater later turned and tried to sue Fielding’s Firm, Wiley Rein, b/c they lost the case (of the four dead contractors families suing BW). The case was heard in NC state courts. BW hired Wiley Rein to get it moved to Federal court. WR failed.

    I never did see an explanation why BW wanted this case moved to the Fed system. Perhaps b/c they could then claim state secrets?

    The case, however, was never moved back to NC courts. BW tried to get it heard by the US Supreme Court, hiring Ken Starr. That failed. Instead eventually went to Federal arbitration, following repeated BW pressuring. William Webster, former CIA and FBI head under Ronald Reagan was one of the arbitrators.

    (Circa May 2007).

    • emptywheel says:

      If you’re trying to use the covert contracts and possible non-contracts BW has with the Federal govt to get them to dismiss charges, then you need to move into Federal court, right?

  20. Gitcheegumee says:

    Lawyers Showed Photos of Covert CIA Officers to Guantanamo Bay …Aug 20, 2009 … Detainees Shown CIA Officers’ Photos. Justice Dept. … team went too far by allegedly showing the detainees the photos of CIA officers, … › Nation › National Security –

  21. Citizen92 says:

    @Mary 32

    I read that ex-CIA now BW exec Robert Richter was super close with King Abdullah of Jordan. So super-close that Abdullah thought Richter was still representing the Agency (when he was really at BW).

    Jordan sure is a good jumping off point for ops in Syria!

  22. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Looks like this story about BW and CIA is in the process of going mainstream.
    Maybe others here can interpret this video clip at MSNBC. (Was the main highlighted ‘story’ when I clicked over to their main site.)

  23. Gitcheegumee says:

    The Columbia Journalism Review* has an interesting article on the timing of the Blackwater Assassination program,and although the link states August 2009,it references the current Risen article.

    Blackwater’s association with assassination effort began shortly AFTER Porter Goss became CIA director in 2004, and ended under Goss upon Goss abrupt and unexplained resignation in 2006-when Hayden assumed the spot.

    *More Details on Blackwater’s Role : CJRAug 21, 2009 … Today’s story confirms that Blackwater’s association with the assassination effort began shortly after Porter Goss became CIA director in … – Cached

    Goss was involved in the brouhaha over waterboarding, namely who knew what and when.Remember him claiming Peolisi HAD been briefed on water boarding?

    Then, there’ s also the warrnatless wiretaps on Jane Harman…..and the Dusty Foggo /Brent Wilkes -Duke Cunningham scandal

  24. Citizen92 says:

    @53 EW

    That’s what the legal community was saying at the time. Of course, since it went to arbitration, that hypothesis was never tested.

    I’m seeing a lot of references pointing me back to “Way of the World” a book I haven’t read yet.

    I had been wondering if the Fallujah 4 was a BW private CIA op gone awry (under cover of an armed escort of food trucks), but the court filings don’t seem to bear that out. Still BW went to extraordinary lengths to quash the case.

    • emptywheel says:

      Could be, but you would think they would have been a lot more cautious with CIA ops. Maybe not though–Fallujah would be a good target for covert ops, I guess.

  25. marc says:

    The Blackwater/Fallujah kitchen equipment mission always seemed kind of squirrely to me. It was not apparently something Blackwater normally did even though they do seem to have their fingers in a lot of pies. Very under resourced, all the men involved have been reported to have had grave misgivings. No notification of the Marine Commander responsible for the AO. Drove right through Fallujah when that wasn’t necessary they could have driven around the city. I suspect they were set up by CIA/Blackwater to see who might try to snatch them. I’m sure they figured the former Rangers and SEAL could take care of themselves but of course it all went FUBAR.

    • Mary says:

      Be nice to have Congress subpeona Mr. Haynes to come in explain how DoD lawyers (since they talk about them being directly involved) worked up the allowable civilian killings in their collateral damage estimates to authorize the strikes at their levels, without going upchain to Rumsfeld (or Gates now).

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Just to reiterate your point, Mary – from the EW Torture Tape Timeline:

        February 2, 2002: William Taft argues for the application of Geneva Conventions.

        January 15, 2003: After having three-times orally warned Jim Haynes that Gitmo interrogation techniques “could rise to the level of torture,” Alberto Mora drafts memo and threatens to sign it unless techniques stopped. Techniques stopped. Rumsfeld convenes “Working Group” on interrogation, but Haynes directs Yoo to draft memo anyway.

        Haynes, is he still at ExxonMobil…?
        Wherever he is, there’s no way he can claim that no one objected to his steamrolling and twisting the law into an expedient pretzel.

  26. Gitcheegumee says:

    IF Blackwater,who is linked to CIA missions and operations,WERE involved in torture, would that not explain to some degree the Obama DOJ advising dismissal of Padilla’s civil suit against torture enabler,John Yoo?

    Legal “discovery” can be a deep and wide net,indeed.

    • Gitcheegumee says:


      DoJ cited for contempt after failing to tape Gitmo hearing — A federal district court judge ruled on Thursday that the Department of Justice was in contempt of court when it failed to videotape a Guantanamo detainee’s testimony last summer.

  27. person1597 says:

    Reading all this suggests the AbuG defense meme… “I was acting on the direct orders of the [vice] president.” It would seem the ultimate GOOJ-Free card. It just isn’t quite time to play it yet.

    Perhaps that’s because his Prince-ship’s “contract” has not yet been fulfilled. (And maybe he’s a little nervous about that…)

  28. MartyDidier says:

    I just posted an important post on “We’re Still Following Germ Boy’s Biodefense Strategy” that relates to this post as well…

    Please review the following article:
    Mexico drug plane used for US ‘rendition’ flights: report Sep 4, 2008

    Notice that this plane has CIA links and their tail number is known to fly Rendition flights.

    But don’t miss all the bags of drugs! Please read my post!
    We’re Still Following Germ Boy’s Biodefense Strategy
    By: emptywheel Friday December 11, 2009 11:35 am

    Marty Didier
    Northbrook, IL

  29. Citizen92 says:

    Remember Cookie and Buzzy Krongard? Cookie was the IG of the State Dept. Buzzy was the CIA’s #3 who brought Blackwater into the CIA?

    Cookie was testifying to Congress, and said Buzzy has no financial relationship with Blackwater. Only he had to, confusedly and embarrasingly admit in that same testimony that he learned only then his brother Buzzy did have a relationship with BW.

    That little odd vignette has stuck with me for a while. I think the Krongards are relevant to this too.

  30. Citizen92 says:

    One final communications thought. I find it interesting that Anne Tyrrell who was BW’s spokesman now lists her occupation as communications director for Congress. Any ideas who she’s working for on the Hill?

    Anne is daughter of R. Emmett Tyrrell, the longtime editor of the conservative American Spectator).

    I bet Anne knows some secrets!

  31. prostratedragon says:

    So some agency people from the field, first victimized by the irresistable force of mission creep then seduced by those evil Xe boys, invite aggressive fools investigators to launch themselves unthinkingly into Prince’s graymail wall. Was that the idea?

    I think most business types wouldn’t have a general portrait taken with them sitting in a guard pose.

  32. alinaustex says:

    Some while back a commentator here -named skimpypenguin – who alllegedly was an intel/military professional was openly asserting that the DOD/JSOC was trying to wrest control of black ops from the CIA -and that this “struggle’ had caused much illegal activity -re torture /murder of detainees.
    So skimpypenguin if you are still with us what say you about this current discussion regarding Prince as a CIA assset ? Further skimpypenguin how much of all this graymail is disinformation being fed to trusted reporters re Scahill -and if it is disinformation who is doing it -and to what ends ?
    You know skimppy I am beginning to wonder if you yourself are not a graymailer sent here by your chain to spread half truths-are you out there skimpy ?

    • Rayne says:

      There are a lot of readers who never comment here who might also share some perspective on this topic, but the potential repercussions and hassle-factor may keep them from piping up.

      Please understand this is a pretty sensitive topic for folks in “the industry”; you may have to respect the desire for some commenters not to participate in the open.

      Folks out there who want to share but not in comments can certainly email EW directly.

  33. alinaustex says:

    Rayne @ 73 and 75
    Yes I wish to be respectful of any who would comment here. But the commentary that was repeatedly posted by skimpypenguin sugggested a real contretemps between the miitary and the CIA . Furthermore skimpypenguin had -it appeared -many useful insights into the illegalities tied to torture and murder committed in our name . My comment regarding the potential disinformation that skimpypenguin may have left us with here was in the context of what appears to be graymail being spun out by Prince and others ..
    Rayne you are right – it does appear that witnesses have been murdered to keep the full story from being told -and that is a fact we should all remember .

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