Erik Prince’s Latest Graymail: Deliberately Targeting an American Teenager

Technically, I suppose, Erik Prince’s latest disclosure (unlike some earlier ones) is not gray mail, as he seems intent (as Jeff Stein reported months ago) to exact revenge no matter what and claims the CIA has already done whatever damage it can to him.

Which makes me wonder whom he’s trying to exact revenge on with his claim that Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was deliberately targeted (a claim Jeremy Scahill reported back in April, though sourced it to a former Senior Administration Official).

“I am all in favor of killing terrorists,” Prince said. “But the fact that [Anwar] al-Awlaki was killed and his 16-year-old son, born in Colorado, was killed with no due process other than that he got on the ‘kill list’ is troubling to me.” The Obama administration has claimed that Awlaki, an American citizen who was killed in a drone strike in 2011, was an operational leader of al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen.

Prince said he believes al-Awlaki’s son was deliberately targeted in a second strike after the one that killed Awlaki. The Obama administration has said that strike was not targeting Awlaki’s son, but someone else.

Prince also said the over-reliance on drone warfare in the Middle East and South Asia would likely reap “a bitter harvest,” because of the scale of collateral damage from drone strikes. He said it was wiser to send in small teams to such denied areas to find and target terrorists, or outsource this kind of work to local surrogates.

In the other day’s installment of Erik Prince’s complaints, after all, he blamed his plight on Leon Panetta, who cut off his assassination training program and pulled some drone targeting activities away from Blackwater, reportedly in 2009. Panetta was Secretary of Defense at the time Abdulrahman was killed, having moved over from running CIA and its drone assassination months earlier. David Petraeus had his button on CIA’s drone killing machine by the time of Anwar and Adbulrahman’s deaths.

That said, there were reports JSOC targeted Abdulrahman…

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.

7 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Prince’s comments to Lake in the Beast read like a temper tantrum. The former biggest, baddest privateer-ass now offers a litany of offenses committed by the government, as if he was never their pitbull on the other end of the offensiveness.

    — The puling about NSA monitoring is interesting; did Panetta figure out how to pull back on Prince’s leash because of metadata documenting Prince’s network and contacts? Is part of the complaint really about the loss of the system by which Prince et al operated outside of any oversight because they were Cheney’s VP-directed covert resources versus officially sanctioned military resources?

    — Is Prince whining about Awlaki not because it happened, but because he didn’t get the contract? It reads as if he thinks he could have done a better job if they’d let a Prince-organized team perform the mission with a team rather than a government drone. (ex: “Look, I wouldn’t have killed an American teen if I could have done the job!”)

    — The complaint about the size of government and spending is also ridiculous, as if the Bush-years’ sole-source contracting to privateers was an improvement. Again, this reads like whining about lost contracting revenues…or a subtle implication that there’s less papertrail, not necessarily less government.

    Dude just makes my skin crawl when he doesn’t make me want to spank him.

  2. C says:

    You know, according to some Deep Throat revealed the Watergate crimes in part because Nixon had passed him over for promotion. For better or worse perhaps Erik Prince has decided to play a similar role see if he can burnish his image by burning theirs.

    As to the lateness of the news, while Scahill has already reported the story perhaps Prince has some additional details, or documentary proof that might wind up in court. You can’t Supoena an “anonymous source” but Prince has a name and address.

  3. geoschmidt says:

    I don’t suppose this comment will be any much more approapriate than my usual, but let me put it this way:
    Why is it that ”we” are surprised, when ”sociopaths” set up to do what they do? notwithstanding that many of these creatures enjoy some kind of a weird acceptability, much more, they rule today!!

    Why would ”we” find it incongruous… that monsters, tend to be… you know, what they are!

    I liked the theme and the book: “The Sociopath Next Door”, I think that book tells of a key to understand our times.

  4. geoschmidt says:

    There is an add for Hillary C on the above space, My poor little lateley late Mom, is almost a ringer to her.

    The difference might be that moms was lovable.

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