CIA contracted Blackwater to take out A.Q.Khan: Then they ask ???why they hate us???
CIA asked Blackwater to take out AQ Khan??™
* Blackwater chief Erik Prince admits to running secret missions for CIA Daily Times Monitor
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had asked private security contractor Blackwater Worldwide to kill Dr AQ Khan??“Blackwater founder Erik Prince
LAHORE: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had asked private security contractor Blackwater Worldwide to kill Dr AQ Khan, the Pakistani scientist ???who shared nuclear know-how with Iran, Libya, and North Korea???, agency??™s founder Erik Prince admitted in an interview with Vanity Fair.
According to a source who spoke to the magazine, the authorities in Washington ???chose not to pull the trigger???, however, adding ???Dr Khan??™s inclusion on the target list would suggest that the assassination effort was broader than has previously been acknowledged???.
Admission: The New York Times (NYT) reported that Prince also admitted to participating in some of the CIA??™s most sensitive operations, including raids on suspected militants in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now known as Xe Services, ???Blackwater??™s role in both wars changed sharply when its guards began providing security for CIA operatives in the field???.
Raids on suspected insurgents in Iraq, known as ???snatch and grab??™ operations, began happening almost nightly during the worst years of the war between 2004 and 2006.
Spies and Whispers
Last June, C.I.A. director Leon Panetta met in a closed session with the House and Senate intelligence committees to brief them on a covert-action program, which the agency had long concealed from Congress. Panetta explained that he had learned of the existence of the operation only the day before and had promptly shut it down. The reason, C.I.A. spokesman Paul Gimigliano now explains: ???It hadn??™t taken any terrorists off the street.??? During the meeting, according to two attendees, Panetta named both Erik Prince and Blackwater as key participants in the program. (When asked to verify this account, Gimigliano notes that ???Director Panetta treats as confidential discussions with Congress that take place behind closed doors.???) Soon thereafter, Prince says, he began fielding inquisitive calls from people he characterizes as far outside the circle of trust.
It took three weeks for details, however sketchy, to surface. In July, The Wall Street Journal described the program as ???an attempt to carry out a 2001 presidential authorization to capture or kill al Qaeda operatives.??? The agency reportedly planned to accomplish this task by dispatching small hit teams overseas. Lawmakers, who couldn??™t exactly quibble with the mission??™s objective, were in high dudgeon over having been kept in the dark. (Former C.I.A. officials reportedly saw the matter differently, characterizing the program as ???more aspirational than operational??? and implying that it had never progressed far enough to justify briefing the Hill.)
On August 20, the gloves came off. The New York Times published a story headlined cia sought blackwater??™s help to kill jihadists. The Washington Post concurred: cia hired firm for assassin program. Prince confesses to feeling betrayed. ???I don??™t understand how a program this sensitive leaks,??? he says. ???And to ???out??™ me on top of it??? The next day, the Times went further, revealing Blackwater??™s role in the use of aerial drones to kill al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders: ???At hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan ??¦ the company??™s contractors assemble and load Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft, work previously performed by employees of the Central Intelligence Agency.???
Erik Prince, almost overnight, had undergone a second rebranding of sorts, this one not of his own making. The war profiteer had become a merchant of death, with a license to kill on the ground and in the air. ???I??™m an easy target,??? he says. ???I??™m from a Republican family and I own this company outright. Our competitors have nameless, faceless management teams.???
Prince blames Democrats in Congress for the leaks and maintains that there is a double standard at play. ???The left complained about how [C.I.A. operative] Valerie Plame??™s identity was compromised for political reasons. A special prosecutor [was even] appointed. Well, what happened to me was worse. People acting for political reasons disclosed not only the existence of a very sensitive program but my name along with it.??? As in the Plame case, though, the leaks prompted C.I.A. attorneys to send a referral to the Justice Department, requesting that a criminal investigation be undertaken to identify those responsible for providing highly classified information to the media.
The paper quoted several former Blackwater guards as saying operations to capture and kill militants in Iraq and Afghanistan became so routine that Blackwater personnel sometimes became partners in the missions rather than simply providing the security for the CIA officers.
The Washington Post??™s sources reported that the actions taken by the agency??™s personnel ???went beyond the protective role specified in a classified Blackwater contract with the CIA??? and included active participation in raids overseen by the CIA or special forces personnel.
Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Xe Services, was quoted as saying that Blackwater was never under contract to participate in covert raids with CIA or Special Forces troops ???in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else???. ???Any allegation to the contrary by any news organisation would be false,??? he said.
Several former CIA counterterrorism officials told WP that CIA headquarters was not aware of such actions and did not authorise them. Separately, the NYT quoted former Blackwater employees as saying they helped provide security on some CIA flights transporting detainees in the years after the 2001 terror attacks in the US.
George Little, a CIA spokesman, would not comment on Blackwater??™s ties to the agency. But he said the CIA employs contractors to ???enhance the skills of our own work force, just as American law permits???.
Intelligence officials deny that the agency has ever used Blackwater to fly high-value detainees in and out of secret CIA prisons that were shut down earlier this year. The Blackwater spokesman said company personnel were never involved in CIA ???rendition flights,??? which transferred terrorism suspects to other countries for interrogation. The Daily Times
Erik Prince flies coach internationally. It??™s not just economical (???Why should I pay for business Fly coach, you arrive at the same time???) but also less likely to draw undue attention. He considers himself a marked man. Prince describes the diplomats and dignitaries Blackwater protects as ???Al Jazeera??“worthy,??? meaning that, in his view, ???bin Laden and his acolytes would love to kill them in a spectacular fashion and have it broadcast on televisions worldwide.???
Stepping off the plane at Kabul??™s international airport, Prince is treated as if he, too, were Al Jazeera??“worthy. He is immediately shuffled into a waiting car and driven 50 yards to a second vehicle, a beat-up minivan that is native to the core: animal pelts on the dashboard, prayer card dangling from the rearview mirror. Blackwater??™s special-projects team is responsible for Prince??™s security in-country, and except for their language its men appear indistinguishable from Afghans. They have full beards, headscarves, and traditional knee-length shirts over baggy trousers. They remove Prince??™s sunglasses, fit him out with body armor, and have him change into Afghan garb. Prince is issued a homing beacon that will track his movements, and a cell phone with its speed dial programmed for Blackwater??™s tactical-operations center. Vanity Fair