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Former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince Says His Mercenaries Were 'Virtual Extension of the CIA'

The mercenary group formerly known as Blackwater worked as a “virtual extension of the CIA,” the company’s former CEO Erik Prince recently told

Blackwater, now called Academi, is infamous for a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left 17 people dead, including unarmed women and children. The group was also accused of various other war crimes.

Blackwater was banned from Iraq after the 2007 massacre, but returned under numerous shell companies to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Blackwater’s work with the CIA began when we provided specialized instructors and facilities that the Agency lacked,” said Prince. “In the years that followed, the company became a virtual extension of the CIA because we were asked time and again to carry out dangerous missions, which the Agency either could not or would not do in-house.”

The relationship between the CIA and Blackwater was clarified by the company’s own legal defense in a three-year prosecution by the Department of Justice.

“[The] CIA routinely used Blackwater in missions throughout the world,” Blackwater's attorneys explain in defense filings. “These efforts were made under written and unwritten contracts and through informal requests. On many occasions the CIA paid Blackwater nothing for its assistance. Blackwater also employed CIA officers and agents, and provided cover to CIA agents and officers operating in covert and clandestine assignments. In many respects, Blackwater, or at least portions of Blackwater, was an extension of the CIA.”

Prince sold Blackwater in 2010 for $200 million and has since gone on to form a new mercenary group in the United Arab Emirates.



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