March 10th, 2010
06:24 PM ET

Another contract for controversial contractor

WASHINGTON – Just days after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he would review allegations of misconduct in Afghanistan by the company formerly known as Blackwater, the Department of Defense announced the company had won another multi-million dollar contract to operate in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, a subsidiary of Xe (the new name for Blackwater) won a contract worth almost $40 million to provide helicopter air-lift for passengers and cargo in Afghanistan.

The contract, for the subsidiary called Presidential Airways, is for additional work to the already existing contract worth almost $1 billion, according to U.S. government documents.

The company holds numerous contracts under three company names in Afghanistan for support of military and intelligence operations.  Those companies are US Training Center, Greystone and Presidential Airways.

The new contract started March 5 and is to last through the end of November, according to the announcement.

Tuesday's contract announcement comes after Senate Armed Service Chairman Carl Levin sent Secretary Gates a letter urging him to look into evidence of misconduct in a previous contract awarded to a subsidiary of Xe for work in Afghanistan.

Secretary Gates has yet to respond to the letter, but Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Gates agrees that the allegations of misconduct should be looked into.

 Levin sent Gates the letter after learning the company is eligible for another potential a job order worth tens of millions of dollars to train Afghan police later this month.

That contract, under Xe subsidiary company U.S. Training Center, has not yet been awarded by the Pentagon.

"Just because a company might have a reputation with some lawmakers does not mean you can bar them from bidding on work," Whitman said.

"There is a very high legal standard for disbarment and we have to follow the law here," Whitman said.

A spokesman for Xe did not respond to requests for comment.

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Shirley Springfield

    what about the men stranded at the airfied in KYRGYZSTAN. Some of these men were on their way home and others replacing them in Afghanistan. How do we plan to get these men home? When? Some are retired contract soldiers who contracts run out this month. How will they be compensated for additional days over their contract? Also how is food and supplies getting in to them during this time? Don't we care about our troops any longer. Are they just a number in this governments eyes? Shame on Washington for not having a plan for this when they found out they would have to pay triple due to the threat of closing it down earlier before this protest occured. I learned about a plan B and C when I was in college.

    April 16, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. madeline

    You just CANNOT fix stupid.....this country has gone down the tubes...

    NO leaders

    NO heroes

    NO intelligence

    NO respect for self/others

    NO commonsense

    March 16, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Allen

    Sadly to say, the age or modern warfare is passed from military to contractors. Dont be surprised we see a future war being outsourced out to companies like Xe.

    March 15, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sayed

    Blackwater-Xe is a classic, notebook definition of a mercenary/Terrorist army that fights and kills for money. PERIOD. There job is to Terrorize their enemies and everyone else who will get in their way. PEROID. They follow no international law, adhere to no moral restrictions, congress doesnt even know about them fully, but only are they exist and are contractor. PERIOD.

    They are not noble soldiers, they are not sacrifising their lives for their country cause if they were they would not leave army and joing Blackwater – Xe, they are not there for democracy or other lies that the thug Bush administration told us, they are basically in it for money. For dollars, like dances on the poles, doesnt matter who is throwing the money as long the money is coming.

    Calling them contractors is misleading and travisty of Justice since calling heart attack, pain in the chest is groosly misleading and if dont intentially a flat lie. Its about time we call out these thugs/killers and create laws before they morph into something else from Xe.

    Obama thats not why i voted for you...!

    March 15, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ryan

    They don't have the restriants on them as our troops in Afgan do. They can fight back with full force if the taliban or al-queda attacked while our troops would have to go to the chain of command, ask permission to attack, and then would be advised to try and just make them surrender. I bet the Tablian woudl rather fight our troops than the Blackwater mercenaries.

    March 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hillcoguy

    If all you guys can do the job better, offer a bid. Lets see what you all could do! ;o)

    March 15, 2010 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rage against the machine

    Does this remind you of the scenario in the television series 24 where a company like BW Blackmails the government? Where are the checks and balances? Where are the people watching the watchers?

    March 15, 2010 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    Boy we got some idiots posting in here. Every one of these blackwater guys are all ex-military spec opos guys. The only reason they have a bad rap is because some liberal journalist rang a loud bell after a misfortunate incident. These guys provide a valuable service to our country and our military. There were several times when my platoon was pinned down and cutoff from reinforcements and supplies and these guys either punched through to help our were able to drop ammo and food via little birds. All you couch warriors out there keep fighting your fight and trolling while the real americans go out and fight to protect your sorry asses

    March 14, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chuck

    I would like to know who Eric Prince knows in the top levels of government or what he has on the past and present President and other top officials in DC. He is a crusader as radical as the islamist's he is fighting. BW "contractors" are x-military trained by the US government and then hired by BW to do all the things our troops are not allowed to do, kill, torture, terrorize,etc. A US senator (cant' think of his name) requested info on BW contracts, and their funding etc. They stalled him for three years before complying with the senator, thats power. Also do people realize that there are almost as many "contractors" in Iraq/Afghan. as there are regular troops? Are you aware that they are paid $500-$1000 per day for their "services" Follow this money if you can!!!

    March 14, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Raj

    BW made mistakes indeed... No one should be above the law and in a time everyone should answer for their deeds. However the job at hand is a perilous one that few can deliver. Go to Afghanistan, Go to iraq and look at the big picture. If you are upset about Tax Payer money being given to fund such activites then refer to your local lawmakers and maybe think again about voting for them again. if you prefer to give the job to the army instead then maybe you should not complain when the boys come back home in body bags... its a tricky situation indeed. Ultimatly you have to choose the lesser evil and someone has to get the job done. Turns out its BW... In my opinion the fact BW are under such scrutiny has done its job in taking away the untouchable halo surrounding them and thats a good thing. Nvertheless, war rages on and YOU will need protection once you are there; if its BW providing it, so be it...!

    March 14, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. chui

    The DOD is still the biggest cash cow for all the conservative republican owned, operated, manged war profiteers. That is precisely the reason why the fraud Iraq war was necessary and this BS untenable war on terror is in its 9th year. The bottom line is that since 2002 the monthly cost of these wars and other mess in the Middle East is over some $40 billion a month ( inculding the DOD, CIA, FBI, State Department and other Agencies of the Federal Government).

    March 14, 2010 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  12. partofthebest

    You know it puzzles me when people enjoying their cozy life as freedom loving Americans have the gall to question those that sacrifice to provide that very freedom. Individuals may have been responsible for wrongdoing, if so those will meet justice, however to judge a company based on a few isolated rumors reported by slanted prejudicial journalism shows ones ignorance as well as their lack of understanding of the situation at hand, not surprising since you only post comments that agree with your views.

    March 13, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. home team

    I know a few guys in XE (Blackwater). They are normal everyday dudes...friendly, smart, fun...and they are ex US military who have a much needed skill set.

    Why does everyone dump on them so much? They risk their lives fighting for the US. Yes get get excellent pay compared to current US soldiers...but blame that on Congress not Xe...This is capitalism afterall.

    Do they make mistakes? Probably...they are human and this is war. That being said criminal acts should be punished, not unfortunate mistakes, as no one is above the law even in war

    March 13, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. On the ground now

    With military air a snarled mess most of the time in Afghanistan, at times Presidential and others who do the same have been the only way to get to where I need to be to do my mission. One day this fall, the gray ring crew decided that they weren't going to stop at Camp Phoenix, where I had gone to wait on the HLZ for them. A few minutes later a Presidential crew showed up, picked me and my small team and interpreters up, and flew us right where we needed to go. No dramas.

    The crew was professional, obviously retired military. The flight was smooth and the helicopter was well-maintained. Oddly enough, I didn't see any pirates or other cutthroats aboard, and no strings of severed ears on any of the flight crew. There weren't even any weapons on board other than ours.

    If you want to break my reliance on civilian contractors, give the Army and Marines a boatload more helicopters, train the crews, and bring them over. I don't care who's flying them, I just need to get to where I'm going safely.

    Nice knee-jerk reactions from everyone. Knee-jerk reactions are always the surest sign of the well-informed. Come and move around Afghanistan with me, and perhaps once we get ganked-up by military air you'll be hoping for a Presidential bird along with me.

    March 13, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. Donald Peters

    When is America going to wake-up and realize that there is no aspect of our country that is not for sale? Our govt is nothing but an arm of big business, big money, and is completely corrupted to it's core. We are all being sold out, but nobody will speak the truth. Civilization as we know it is on the way out, not because of any vengeful God, it's because of our own greed and stupidity.

    March 13, 2010 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  16. A. Smith, Oregon

    I find it entirely ironic that former Vice President Dick Cheney stood before the US Congress and stated the entire war in Iraq would cost a total of 50 Billion dollars. And it appears his former company KBR/Haliburton and his buddy's at Xe have been paid MORE as no-bid contractors than Dick Cheney's lie about the War in Iraq costing a total of 50 Billion taxpayer dollars.

    In NO branch of the US Military do they permit a 200x cost overrun to continue, much less a 10x cost overrun on a military project. Not only is that project shut-down, the contractor or development team are FIRED and THROWN out the door. NO WAY would the Air-force accept nor even put up with a 1 Trillion dollar bill over a project sold to them as costing 50 Billion dollars!

    So I ask you, why is America not putting Dick Cheney and Miz Cheney's feet to the fire?

    And what about the Thousands of returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan that were exposed to the toxic fumes and gases from their bases KBR/Haliburton Burn-Pits that are now complaining of pulmonary and chest pains?

    March 12, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  17. A. Smith, Oregon

    The CIA-Xe contractors are above the law, so why even bother telling the American public there is a bidding process on the contracts awarded to that company? I'm absolutely certain many cash starved heavy lift helicopter companys here in America would love to even have the CHANCE of bidding on a multi-million dollar helicopter medium-heavy lift project. Of course NONE of them were asked and NONE of them were able to bid.

    March 11, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Daniel

    Isn't this the very reason we went to war,so these thugs could make even more money they already have?More people to profit from the misery of others,I suppose.

    March 11, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Glenn Gaviller

    It's high time the U.S. Congress makes it a felony treason charge when you are criminally profiteering during wartime. Ripping off the federal government during wartime is disgraceful and un-American.

    March 11, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  20. inoccent afghans been killed everyday

    empty promises everyday, and every dollar they been spending in afghanistan it goes back to america and 0000.02cents been spended in afghanistan , an american army who rubbished his shoe it was abet too too old for him , he cut it in pieces and chucked it in the bean? you wana know why? couldnt they give it to poor afghan soldier? who they call thier friend? and they fighting the taleban together?????? give me a reason who ever is reading my text and tell me why???????????? if they kill one american soldier they kill 100 innocent people why????? is that because afghan ppl life are not insured like americans??????? i wonder why , me as an afghan man i have been to the country and seen everything , u ppl sending ur christian missionaries around and teaching ur bible instead of thinking ahead of the country, u ppl buy ppl faith and it wont be any longer in afghanistan thats my promise.oneday if the same thing happen to american ppl what will u do? whats the better solution for it? we all know that american people are all been controlled by jews and everyone knows 90 percent of amercian government runs by jewish and ur just a slave of a population no more then 3million in this world, and remember oneday u will be punished,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    March 11, 2010 at 5:47 am | Report abuse |
  21. Mother of a Marine

    Unbelievable. Highest Unemployment rate in the history of these United States. But more contracts for the bone-a-fied club members...Yup. Lost my vote for next time, Mr. President.

    March 11, 2010 at 4:01 am | Report abuse |
  22. Gary

    Apparently the name change hasn't helped their image much. They should follow the Prince school of rebranding and just use an indecipherable symbol.

    March 11, 2010 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
  23. windrider

    I have to wonder who Blackwater/Xe/Paravent/etc. has to kill before the Pentagon will quit handing them billions of dollars of contracts for them to abuse. If we cannot conduct our military engagements without hiring brutal mercenaries and private armies, then we should get out of the war-waging business. Of course, Eric Prince has his tentacles into so many aspects of America's national security and defense programs, that the powers-that-be are terrified of opposing him for fear of who/what he will expose in retaliation.

    Eric Prince is the equivalent of a warlord, making money from death and dying and doing his best to keep it going. He reminds us that Eisenhower was right when he warned us against sustaining a military-industrial complex as being dangerous to America's safety and our future. We should have listened then. Now it's too late.

    March 11, 2010 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  24. Ryan Boxwood

    Xe ( Blackwater ) has a long standing rep as a company that believes it is above the law. How is it then the government can still be willing to spend millions upon millions of taxpayers money for jobs that should be the giving to the military??
    Scary to think that the this great country that we live in is going down the same road that the Roman Empire when down during its decline.. which was to outsource its military needs and responsibilities to mercenary's.

    March 11, 2010 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  25. MonasteryMonkey

    Whatever law that precluded Xe from being ineligible needs to be changed.

    March 11, 2010 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  26. Scott

    The ongoing relationship between the government and Blackwater (Xe) should be considered one of the most criminal acts of both administrations. Unbelievable how BW (Xe) continues to make billions of dollars off of the backs of this nation (the citizens) through these contracts while under so much scrutiny. Any other individual/group/company would be...out the door – no questions asked.

    If investigative journalists were to dig deep enough I suspect that they would find any number of unsavory characters/deals between BW (Xe), Haliburton and the government.

    Remember, through the annals of history – war has always been for profiteering.

    March 10, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |