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State Department Re-Ups With Blackwater

by Spencer Ackerman

The State Department’s $10 billion, five-year contract with private security firms is finally out. Guess who’s still a part of it?

I have an exclusive over at Danger Room about how an arm of Blackwater successfully formed a “joint venture” to stay in the picture. Here’s what I’d highlight for you:

Don’t see any of Blackwater’s myriad business names on there? That’s apparently by design. Blackwater and the State Department tried their best to obscure their renewed relationship. As Danger Room reported on Wednesday, Blackwater did not appear on the vendors’ list for Worldwide Protective Services. And the State Department confirms that the company, renamed Xe Services, didn’t actually submit its own independent bid. Instead, they used a blandly-named cut out, “International Development Solutions,” to retain a toehold into State’s lucrative security business. No one who looks at the official announcement of the contract award would have any idea that firm is connected to Blackwater.

Blackwater’s “affiliate U.S. Training Center is part of International Development Solutions (IDS), a joint venture with Kaseman,” according to an official State Department statement to Danger Room. “This joint venture was determined by the Department’s source selection authority to be eligible for award.”

I mean, just try Googling “International Development Solutions.” You see a lot of information about what this company is? It’s hard not to recall Paravant. As Senator Levin explained: “The investigation revealed that Paravant had never performed any services and was simply a shell company established to avoid what one former Blackwater executive called the ‘baggage’ associated with the Blackwater name as the company pursued government business.”

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