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Blackwater, now Xe, era ends in Iraq

upi.com (2009-05-07)

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Blackwater, now Xe, era ends in Iraq

Published: May 7, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Chairman of Blackwater USA Erik Prince is sworn in prior to testifying before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on private security contracting in Iraq in Washington on October 2, 2007. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch)

Chairman of Blackwater USA Erik Prince is sworn in prior to testifying before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on private security contracting in Iraq in Washington on October 2, 2007. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch) | Enlarge Enlarge

BAGHDAD, May 7 (UPI) -- The era of Blackwater Worldwide, now called Xe, providing security to U.S. personnel in Iraq is over as another firm took over duties in Baghdad.

Triple Canopy, of Herndon, Va., picked up the security contract after the U.S. State Department did not renew Xe's contract in January. Iraq did not renew the company's operating license following a September 2007 shooting incident in Baghdad, CNN reported Thursday.

"When the U.S. government initially asked for our help to assist with an immediate need to protect Americans in Iraq, we answered that call and performed well," Xe spokeswoman Anne Tyrell said Wednesday in a statement. "But we always knew that, at some point, that work would come to a close."

The Iraqi government said security guards employed by Blackwater, as it was known in 2007, killed 17 civilians in a Sept. 16 incident in Baghdad. Blackwater said its employees were returning fire after being attacked by insurgents. An Iraqi investigation concluded the guards fired at civilians without provocation.

Triple Canopy already is working under a State Department contract, and the new agreement increases its share of security work, CNN reported. DynCorp International also has a State Department contract for work in Iraq.

Five former Blackwater security guards pleaded not guilty in January to voluntary manslaughter and other charges stemming from the shooting. A sixth former security guard pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and attempted manslaughter. The company does not face any charges.
Topic revision: r1 - 2009-05-08, RaymondLutz
 

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