Kerry opposes outsourcing of security to Blackwater

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Kerry said he is troubled by reports that Xe Services -- earlier known as Blackwater Worldwide -- allegedly played a significant role in CIA operations to target and assassinate al-Qaeda leaders and to arm and launch Predator drones against targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"These reports raise new serious questions about the wisdom of outsourcing the most sensitive government responsibilities to private companies. The reports also have serious implications for US foreign policy," said Kerry, who is Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Currently Blackwater is providing diplomatic security in Afghanistan through a USD 265 million contract, anti-terrorism training under a USD 6 million contract and a contract for aviation services in Iraq, which expires next month.

"While these are existing contracts, I believe there are clauses that allow the State Department to cancel them for cause. Given the latest reports regarding Blackwater, I think the time has come to review the situation with this company, within the larger context of the continued use of private contractors for sensitive government tasks," Kerry said in his letter to Clinton dated August 21.

"Of particular concern to me is whether Backwater employees may have engaged in targeted killing programme for the CIA while using their work for the State Department as a cover for gathering information," he said.

"I am also concerned about whether the CIA's program, and its use of private personnel, was cleared with the chief of the mission in the countries where these activities took place or were expected to take place," Kerry said.

Kerry has also written a letter to Erik Prince, Chairman of the Board Xe Services, seeking answers from him on the media reports appearing in the press in this regard.

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