Friday, August 21, 2009

CIA's Assassin Program with Blackwater (Xe Services)

The headlines in both NY Times and the Washington Post on Thursday, 20 Aug 2009, were along the following line: In 2004, the CIA hired Blackwater USA (now Xe Services) as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda.
The assassination program -- revealed to Congress in June by CIA Director Leon Panetta -- was initially launched in 2001 as a CIA-led effort to kill or capture top al-Qaeda members using the agency's paramilitary forces. But in 2004, after briefly terminating the program, agency officials decided to revive it under a different code name, using outside contractors, the officials said.

"Outsourcing gave the agency more protection in case something went wrong," said a retired intelligence officer intimately familiar with the assassination program.
President Ford signed an executive order in 1976 that barred the C.I.A. from carrying out assassinations
a direct response to revelations that the C.I.A. had initiated assassination plots against Fidel Castro of Cuba and other foreign politicians.
President Bush felt that killing Al Qaeda members
was no different from killing enemy soldiers in battle, and that therefore the agency was not constrained by the assassination ban.
It seems logical that if a nation is not fighting another nation, rather terrorists and independent militants, new tactics are required.

Targeting direct terrorists -- individual combatants -- are within the bounds of the new rules of engagement, rules they have defined.

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