Despite Clinton Pledge, State Dept. to Pay Out Billions More to Mercs
Spencer Ackerman writes on Danger Room:
Get ready to meet America’s new mercenaries. They could be the same as the old ones.
A new multi-billion dollar private security contract to protect U.S. diplomats is “about to drop” as early as this week, say two State Department sources, who requested anonymity because the contract is not yet finalized and they are not authorized to speak with the press.
So much for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s one-time campaign pledge to ban “private mercenary firms.”
Neither source would say which private security firms have won the four-year contract or how much it will ultimately be worth. The last Worldwide Protective Services contract, awarded in 2005, went to Blackwater, Triple Canopy and DynCorp. Rough estimates place that contract’s value at $2.2 billion.
This one is likely to be even more lucrative. That’s because this time, the reduction and forthcoming withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq is causing the State Department to splurge on private security. In June, a senior department official told the congressional Wartime Contracting Commission that the department requires “between 6,000 and 7,000 security contractors” in Iraq, up from its current 2,700 armed guards. And that doesn’t even take into account those needed to guard the expanded U.S. civilian presence in Afghanistan. Mo’ mercs, mo’ money. And mo’ danger: this year, for the first time, U.S. contractor deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan exceeded troop deaths, ProPublica found.