Nothing like a new suit of clothes — and a good tailor — for a fresh start.
So it seems for the firm formerly known as Blackwater, which has won
yet another government security contract, despite its long and
continuing trail of legal problems.
Bidding under a new name, Xe Services won a share this week of a $10
billion State Department deal to provide protective services for
American embassies abroad.
Two months ago a Xe affiliate, U.S. Training Center, won a $100 million security contract from the CIA. But at least it used its own name for that.
In its latest score, Xe employed a new business vehicle,
International Development Solutions, “a blandly named cut-out,” in the
description of Danger Room’s Spencer Ackerman, who first reported the deal on Friday.
“No one who looks at the official announcement of the contract award
would have any idea that firm is connected to Blackwater,” Ackerman
But the State Department confirmed that U.S. Training Center, which
it described as "part of International Development Solutions (IDS),"
won the contract "in a joint venture with Kaseman,” a McLean, Va.,
security services firm, whose board is stocked with top former State
Department and CIA officials.
Kaseman’s board of directors includes Henry A. Crumpton, a former
coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department, and Kara L.
Bue, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for regional
stability who had previously served as special assistant to Deputy
Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage during the George W. Bush
Other board members include former NSA and CIA director Michael V.
Hayden; Donald M. Kerr, a longtime former CIA official who also served
as principal deputy to the director of national intelligence; and
former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), who sat on the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence.
A number of top former military officials also serve on the board,
including retired Marine Corps general and U.S Central Command chief
Anthony Zinni, and retired Navy Adm. Stephen F. Loftus, a former chief
financial officer at the powerhouse D.C. firm Carlyle Management Group.
On Tuesday, Sept. 28, the day before the State Department deal was
announced, Kaseman added Herbert J. Lanese, a former president of
security giant DynCorp, to its board. DynCorp is one of the eight firms
sharing in the new security contract.
Spokesmen for Kaseman declined to answer questions about its
partnership with Xe and what role, if any, it played in securing the
State Department contract.
For its part, the State Department said, “This joint venture was
determined by the Department’s source selection authority to be
eligible for award.”
In August Xe, which is up for sale, negotiated a $42 million fine
with the federal government related to illegal weapons exports to
Afghanistan, as well as to other accusations.
In addition, former Blackwater executives have been targeted in a
half dozen civil suits and prosecutions, including one against five
former Blackwater guards in connection with the death of 17 Iraqis
during a Baghdad shootout in September 2007. Two company-affiliated
guards are also being prosecuted on murder charges stemming from a 2009
shooting in Afghanistan.
In the meantime, two former Blackwater employees have filed a suit
alleging that the firm’s founder, Erik Prince, and his companies
defrauded the departments of State and Homeland Security. Xe has denied
“The Department of State has supported the Department of Justice’s
investigation and prosecution every step of the way,” a spokeswoman
there told SpyTalk Friday on condition of anonymity. “We fully respect
the independence and integrity of the U.S. judicial system and support
holding legally accountable any contractor personnel who have committed