Despite the numerous problems that have been discovered with Blackwater contracts and subcontracts  — ranging from poor electrical wiring that electrocuted several soldiers in the shower to allegations of fraud, profiteering, waste and abuse — the US government continues to spend billions of dollars per year with this contractor.   The reason is that Blackwater (now operating under a variety of aliases and the new name “Xe”) has made itself indispensable to the war effort, particularly in training of local police and armed forces.  Blackwater/Xe recruits a number of retired US troops and special forces, pays them a premium, and has positioned itself as a critical intermediary (some would call it “mercenary”)  supplemental force in the region.

It is a sign of just how bad things are that the GAO today blocked  the Army’s plans to award a $1 billion training program for Afghan police officers to Blackwater/Xe,  — upholding complaints from Dyncorp and other companies who said they were unfairly excluded from bidding on the job. This unprecedented moves follows protests by Senator Carl Levin, who pointed out the numerous abuses in which Blackwater/Xe has been implicated.

The decision will still make it possible for Blackwater to win a portion of the contract for overseeing training for the Afghan National Police when it is re-bid — but probably it will have a smaller role. The ruling makes it  unclear who will oversee training of the Afghan  Police, a poorly equipped, 90,000-strong paramilitary force that will inherit the task of preserving order in the country after NATO troops depart. Read article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/15/AR2010031503289.html

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