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Former Iraq Security Contractors Say Firm Bought Black Market Weapons, Swapped Booze for Rockets

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 18, 2009

by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica and Aram Roston – September 18, 2009 10:05 am EDT

Last spring, the U.S. diplomatic mission in Iraq got a makeover,replacing the scandal-plagued Blackwater private security company with a firm named Triple Canopy.

The new $1 billion contract cemented Triple Canopy’s status as the pre-eminent provider of private security services in Iraq, with its heavily armed employees appearing side by side with senior State Department diplomats.

But the company’s rise to prominence followed a long, often chaotic route, marked by questionable weapons deals, government bungling and a criminal investigation that was ultimately closed without charges being filed, according to newly released investigative files.

Company employees told federal investigators that Triple Canopy swapped booze for weapons and supplies from the U.S. military. They said the company bought guns and other arms on the black market in Iraq. Some worried that the money was flowing into the hands of insurgents, records show.

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One Response to “Former Iraq Security Contractors Say Firm Bought Black Market Weapons, Swapped Booze for Rockets”

  1. RGR said

    What is the surprise about this story…?

    DynCorp, Blackwater and now Triple Canopy trading booze for weapons and ammo.. This has been going on for years… This was done simply because the agency / contractor the US Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service is so dysfunctional they do not have enough ammo to even have a combat load. Alcohol, Steaks, whatever of value was traded. We traded with the U.S. Military, British, Canadian military whoever had what we needed and should have had from the State Department to operate in a combat environment. We mainly sought 5.56mm ammo but we also got loads of 9mm ammo for training since the State Department only allocated 50 rounds every 6 months for training. Any good operator knows you need to be shooting at least 500 to 1,000 rounds a week to be at the level they expect. We also got Claymores, C4, AT-4’s, L.A.W.S Rockets, Hand Grenades (Fragmentation as well as smoke and stun). Other items we were forced to trade for was Medical items such as needed IV’s and bandages. Medicine for common illnesses, along with pain medicine for emergency treatments such as, Morphine. These sought after items were essential to accomplish the mission. Without these items it simply places our people at risk, not to mention the Diplomats we are assigned to protect.

    The issue here should not be with the “Horrible Contractors” it should be with the ineptness of our established Government agencies who should not have a pencil clerk assigned to order equipment for Special Operations guys in a war zone. That would be like having us in charge of ordering make-up for women, we can do it but it is almost guaranteed to order the wrong thing and not enough.

    I want to add a note for these low level diplomats that enjoy throwing those of us under the bus any chance they get, if any of these “Diplomats” truly think any operator will truly risk their live to protect them they have another thing coming. The only reason any operator is there in that position can simply be explained like this. The Operator is there in a position with “Bait” (Diplomat) when the bad guys come we can kill them. Mark my words the State Department, Diplomatic Security Service has had these Contracting firms hire many “Cops” who like themselves are highly trained in “Creative Report Writing”, unlike those of us from Special Operations that would simply write; “there was a bad guy and we fired an entire drum from our m249 and they were killed”. This was not politically correct enough therefore;

    The “Cops” would write, “I was in fear for my life, the life of the principle, our team mates we took all evasive actions to avoid confrontation and shot to stop the threat only after using hand and arm signals, verbal commands and Firing a Pen Flare at the threat. We were instructed prior to the mission of the Force Continuum and Use of Deadly force 30 minutes prior to operations”.

    As for the Diplomats we were assigned to protect, These folks are clueless. Why do ou think nothing is being solved. These are the folks our government calls a “Diplomat” to promote policies. Let me point out two situations specific, 1st in Afghanistan, while assigned there we were sent out with “Female” diplomats to deal with local war lords. As you know that alone is an insult in their culture. The result was that we the body guards would handle the policies in some circumstances. Now another incident when I was in Iraq one such “Diplomat”, XXXXX XXXXX. During a gun fight in Baghdad in 2007 she told us that and I quote, “if you stop shooting at them they will stop shooting at you”. Do I need to say more?

    People stop looking for scandal with the Contractors… Look at the government that hired them and for every scandalous event you will surely find 10 with their “Full time” government counterpart.

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