Bhutto Wanted Blackwater
Wired (2008-02-26) Sharon Weinberger
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By Sharon Weinberger February 26, 2008 | 10:00:00 AM
Blackwater could have saved slain Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto. In fact, Bhutto wanted to be saved by Blackwater, reports my new favorite magazine Serviam (the modern merc's Soldier of Fortune). That's right: Blackwater doesn't just save blonde Christian missionaries; they'll save Muslims, too. Okay, I'm just kidding. No wait, I'm not kidding. They're mercenaries private security contractors for goodness sake; they'll save whoever the heck pays them. That's the point.
No, that's not right either, they'll save whoever pays them, as long as the State Department lets them, and the State Department wouldn't let them save Bhutto, the magazine reports:
Serviam has learned that former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, while campaigning for president in 2007, had asked for Blackwater to protect her from feared assassination. Highly placed sources tell Serviam that State Department officials, concerned about all the negative publicity from the Waxman hearings and the lawsuit, thought the company had become too controversial and vetoed the request.
I'm not discounting this version of events, but earlier reports from the Washington Times And the London Daily Telegraph indicated that Bhutto was looking at several security firms, including -- but not limited to -- Blackwater. Those articles, moreover, state that it was the Pakistani government, not the U.S. State Department, that cut the deal short (though I could imagine State Department balking at the deal as well). That said, I called the U.S. State Department to hear their side of the story; spokeswoman Nicole Thompson said she "in no position to comment" on these claims. Smart choice!