During an interview with Riz Khan on December 21st Jeremy Scahill reported that the Obama administration has surpassed the Bush era’s privatization of war, having nearly doubled the number of security contractors in Afghanistan over the past several months. Amongst the contracting firms who remain in Afghanistan is Blackwater (now operating under the name XE) – a firm that Scahill describes as “one of the most powerful private actors in the so called War on Terror.“
In a series of reports for The Nation in November and December of 2009, Scahill revealed that “members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives” both inside and outside of Pakistan. Despite public indictments, Blackwater continues to work for the State Department without oversight.
In yesterday’s interview with Riz Khan, Scahill refers to the group of private contracting firms working for the administration as a “parallel CIA”. He is joined in the interview by Dr. Dov Zakheim, the former chief financial officer for the Pentagon during the Bush Administration’s first term in office.