Muckety
 
 
 
 
 

Blackwater’s protective web

By Laurie Bennett

September 22, 2007 at 7:05am

Blackwater USA, the State Department’s largest private security contractor, is under siege on several fronts.

Iraq’s state minister for national security affairs announced today that the firm would face criminal charges for the fatal shootings of Iraqi citizens. Blackwater, based in Moyock, N.C., is also under investigation on the home front.

But a tight web of political and business connections helps shield the company from the most formidable of attacks.

Erik Prince, the former Navy SEAL who founded Blackwater in 1996, is a major contributor to the GOP. Federal Election Commission records show that he has given more than $200,000 to Republican committees and candidates in the last decade.

His sister, Betsy DeVos, is the former chair of the Michigan Republican Party and wife of Amway co-founder Dick DeVos, unsuccessful candidate for governor.

Prince is also on the board of Christian Freedom International, a nonprofit whose aim is to help persecuted Christians around the world. Fellow board members include former U.S. Sen. Don Nickles and former Swiss ambassador Faith Whittlesey.

The group’s president, Jim Jacobson, was a policy analyst with the Reagan White House. Its vice chairman, Paul Behrends, was a partner in the once-powerful lobbyist firm, Alexander Strategy Group, which represented Blackwater. The group closed shop in January 2006, citing unfavorable publicity from its ties to Jack Abramoff.

Blackwater’s vice chairman, Cofer Black, is former director of counterterrorism for the CIA and also a top adviser to the Mitt Romney presidential campaign.

Officers of Blackwater’s parent company, Prince Group, include Joseph Schmitz, former inspector general of the Defense Department and the son of a congressman. (An irrelevant but interesting connection here: Schmitz’s sister is Mary Kay LeTourneau, the former school teacher who was prosecuted and imprisoned for having sex with an underaged student. The two were married after her release in 2004.)

Blackwater resumed guarding American diplomatic convoys in Iraq on Friday, after Iraqi officials backed away from plans to expel the company. The Iraq ministry said Blackwater guards had fired on a Baghdad square without provocation, killing 11 people.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has ordered a review of security practices in the wake of the shootings. Federal prosecutors also are investigating whether company employees illegally smuggled weapons into Iraq.

Follow Muckety on Twitter Tweet This! Share on Facebook

Click here to sign up for the Muckety Newsletter

 Read related stories: Business · Politics  

0 Comments

  • There are no comments yet, be the first by filling in the form below.

Leave a Comment

The relationship map to the left is interactive.
• Solid lines are current relations. Dotted lines are former relations.
• Expand items with + signs by double-clicking or by selecting multiple items in the map and pressing the "e" key.
• Move an item in the map by clicking and dragging.
• You can also delete items, separate boxes and save maps. Right-click on the map or select Map Tools for these options.
• Find out more about an item in the map by right-clicking on the item and choosing Information about...
• View map color key.
• This interactive map requires Flash player.

  • The enormity of the U.S. Intelligence Community
    February 16, 2017 at 8:58am

    As it struggles to assemble a cabinet and to replace a national security adviser who has resigned and a labor secretary nominee who has withdrawn, the Trump administration takes on a new challenge: stanching leaks from U.S. intelligence.

    Immigration ban strains Trump relations with Silicon Valley
    January 30, 2017 at 9:06am

    Seven weeks ago, the president-elect made nice with the titans of tech, sitting down with them at Trump Tower and pledging government support.

    Coming together
    January 22, 2017 at 1:25pm

    From above, from the bird’s eye view of helicopters or satellites, the crowd was massive.

    The Davos elite
    January 19, 2017 at 8:22am

    The annual meeting in Davos brings together the elite of business and foreign relations - the supposed antithesis of Donald Trump’s views on governance.

    In a typical cabinet, Elaine Chao would be one of the richest
    January 12, 2017 at 8:37am

    When critics complain about the big-money nominees in Donald Trump’s cabinet, they focus on billionaire investor Wilbur Ross (Commerce), Amway in-law Betsy DeVos (Education), former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson (State) and Goldman Sachs alum Steve Mnuchin (Treasury).

    More stories →

Become a fan of Muckety on Facebook

  • Search for stories
      
    Special Features

Follow Muckety on Twitter Follow Muckety on Twitter
Muckety has no direct connection to most of the people or organizations listed on these pages.
We are unable to forward personal messages or provide personal contact information.
We make every effort at Muckety to ensure that our data is correct and timely. However, relationships are in constant flux and we cannot guarantee accuracy. If you come across incorrect or outdated information, please let us know by email.
© 2017 Muckety LLC