U.S. security company accused of bribing Iraq officials - Macleans.ca

U.S. security company accused of bribing Iraq officials

Payouts meant to cover up civilian shootings, say former execs


Former officials at Blackwater Worldwide—one of the largest private military security firms—say the company approved moves to bribe Iraqi officials, in return for their silence about the fatal shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians by Blackwater guards in 2007. The bribes were allegedly valued around $1 million. Four former executives, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed in an interview that Blackwater’s president had agreed to the bribes because he was worried the company might lose its operating license in Afghanistan if word of the shootings was leaked. Cofer Black, then VP of the company, claims that after learning of the plans, he confronted Blackwater’s chairman; Black resigned the following year. Blackwater was hired as the private contractor for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. However, in spring, the Iraqi government refused the company a new license, and so Blackwater was replaced. The company has profited from security contracts in both Iraq and Afghanistan, where it was involved in projects to assassinate Al Qaeda leaders and operate Predator drones.

New York Times

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