January 1, 2013

Benghazi flap means big bucks for Blackwater type operations

Wired - U.S. embassy security in the post-Benghazi era is shaping up to be a financial bonanza for security contractors. It’s not necessarily going to look like the ‘roided-out era in which the firm formerly known as Blackwater and its ilk paraded diplomats through dangerous thoroughfares with specialty rifles in tow. But any company that can provide the State Department with either armed guards, surveillance tools or hardened facilities would be smart to practice its elevator pitch.

The scope of the bonanza isn’t yet clear, especially concerning how much of a likely cash infusion at the State Department will go to private security contractors. And the rebranded company Academi doesn’t do nearly the amount of business with State that it did under its old Blackwater incarnation, and so we’re just using its old moniker as a placeholder here. But both the influential independent commission on the September attacks in Benghazi and a Senate hearing on Thursday pointed to flooding the State Department’s security corps with money. And one of the key post-Benghazi decisions the next secretary of state will make is whether to continue spending that cash on hired guards or to bolster the ranks of State Department employees that protect diplomats themselves.

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