State Department Details Blackwater Violations of US Laws

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McClatchy Newspapers

State Department Details Blackwater Violations of US Laws

by
Warren P. Strobel

Erik Prince of Xe, formerly Blackwater. Prince recently moved to the United Arab Emirates, and has put Xe Services up for sale.(Chuck Kennedy / MCT)

WASHINGTON — The company formerly known as
Blackwater violated U.S. export control laws nearly 300 times, ranging
from attempts to do business in Sudan while that country was under U.S.
sanctions to training an Afghan border patrol official who was a native
of Iran, the State Department said Monday.

The alleged violations were spelled out in
documents released Monday by the State Department as part of a $42
million settlement with Blackwater that will allow the company, now
known as Xe Services LLC, to continue receiving U.S. government
contracts.

The agreement appears to spell the end of a
three-and-a-half-year, multi-agency federal probe into Xe Services'
unauthorized exports of defense technologies and services. While
elements of the case were presented to a federal grand jury, the company
and its currently serving officers have avoided criminal prosecution.

The State Department said Monday that Xe Services' alleged
violations, while widespread, "did not involve sensitive technologies or
cause a known harm to national security." Additionally, it said, they
took place while Xe "was providing services in support of U.S.
government programs and military operations abroad."

Under the
agreement with the U.S. government, the Moyock, N.C., company was levied
a $42 million fine, but Xe is allowed to use $12 million of that to
strengthen the company's export control compliance programs. Xe won't be
barred from further U.S. government contracts, and a government policy
of denying most of the firm's export control applications, in place
since December 2008, will be lifted.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for
Blackwater founder Erik Prince, didn't immediately return a phone call
seeking comment. Prince recently moved to the United Arab Emirates, and
has put Xe Services up for sale.

McClatchy first reported in June
that Xe Services and the U.S. government were negotiating a
multimillion-dollar fine to settle allegations that it violated laws
regulating the export of defense equipment and know-how overseas. The
article detailed Blackwater's extensive efforts to secure business in
southern Sudan at a time when the country was under U.S. sanctions for
its sponsorship of terrorism.

A 41-page State Department document
released Monday provides some new details about Blackwater's Sudan plans
and provides a peek into the secretive company's training of foreign
military personnel around the globe.

For example, an October 2006
Blackwater proposal to the south Sudanese government called for the
company to provide military training to individuals who held citizenship
in both Sudan and neighboring Uganda, but "would be deemed Ugandans for
training purposes." Blackwater obtained Ugandan passports for the
prospective trainees from the south Sudanese government.

At the time, Sudan was under U.S. sanctions, but Uganda wasn't.

Most
of the 288 violations of export control laws cited in the document
involve Blackwater providing unauthorized military or security training
to foreign nationals or failing to vet adequately the backgrounds of
those it was training. The concern is that U.S. enemies could benefit
inadvertently from such training.

Persons trained by Blackwater
under a U.S. government contract to train the Afghan Border Police
included "one (who) was born in Pakistan and the other in Iran, a
proscribed country," the document says.

Blackwater provided
military training to security forces in almost every corner of the
globe, often without proper authorization from the U.S. government, the
documents show. Countries that received those services included
Azerbaijan, Canada, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Niger, the Philippines and
Taiwan.

Blackwater also violated firearms regulations on numerous
occasions, the documents allege. In one case, it diverted weapons
intended for use in supporting U.S. military operations in Iraq to the
company's private contracts in that country.

The company "did not
fully cooperate" during the first 18 months of the State Department
investigation, which began in February 2007, and made several false
statements to the government that it later revised, the documents said.

ON THE WEB

The State Department agreement with Xe Services

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