CIA Farmed Out Putting Bombs on Drones

Government still relies on Blackwater for critical work

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010  |  Updated 5:23 PM PDT
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Blackwater USA founder, Erik Prince. His company is still quite valuable to the government.

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Not only did the CIA secretly farm out critical intelligence work to controversial security company Blackwater USA in the war on terror,  the agency continues to depend on the same private firm to put bombs on unmanned drones.

The job, attaching Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs to Predator planes for use against targets along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, used to be done by CIA employees. But the agency has become largely dependent on its contractor, The New York Times reported.  

In some cases, agency officials have blamed the company -- which now goes by the name Xe Services after its reputation was sullied by employee involvement in Iraqi civilian deaths -- for shoddy work.

The latest revelation comes one day after the Times ignited a firestorm on Capitol Hill by reporting CIA Director Leon Panetta canned a program hidden from Congress for seven years that used contractors on a terrorist hit squad. The program reportedly cost millions and yielded zero terrorists captured or killed by the time it was shut down in June. The Times revealed today that Blackwater employees helped out on surveillance and training but did not have a "license to kill" on the al-Qaida assassination project.   

Read More: New York Times

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