Pentagon to Review Blackwater Conduct in Afghanistan

Downplays Chances of Ending Use of Blackwater, However

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell today said that Defense Secretary Robert Gates would “review” allegations of misconduct by Blackwater operating in Afghanistan. Blackwater is accused of misleading officials, hiring unqualified personnel and misappropriation of government weaponry.

At the same time, Morrell downplayed the chances of barring Blackwater from contracts, insisting that “they have a willingness to work in places that very few companies are willing to work” and “provide a much-needed service.”

Blackwater was heavily involved in the Iraq War until the fallout from a 2007 massacre of civilians led the Iraqi government to revoke their license. The group still operates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere.

In addition to the allegations related to their work for the Pentagon, Blackwater is also being probed for fraud related to their work for the State Department in Afghanistan. Ex-employees say the company systematically overbilled the State Department and even kept a prostitute on payroll as a salaried employee, charging her services and travel expenses to the US government as a “recreation” expense.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.