Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blackwater, in trouble again

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 10:31 AM

This time, the North Carolina-based military-for-hire company, now known as Xe, is in trouble for hoarding automatic weapons. They claim they're only doing it as a favor to the local sheriff, but that might not be quite true. (Umm, why does the Camden County sheriff need AK-47s? What the hell is going on in the Outer Banks?)

Meanwhile, the company is hoping to expand their private army in Afghanistan with the help of another billion dollar contract from the federal government.

Any indictment, even of former executives, would be unwelcome news at a company beleaguered since a 2007 shooting involving Blackwater guards in Baghdad left 17 people dead. Under a new name, Xe, the firm is trying to win Defense Department approval to train police in Afghanistan. The contract could be worth up to $1 billion but has drawn the ire of some in Congress.

The potential charges stem from a raid conducted by federal agents in 2008 that seized 22 weapons, among them 17 AK-47s.

Multiple law enforcement officials familiar with the case said investigators are trying to determine if Blackwater obtained the official letterhead of a local sheriff to create a false justification for buying the guns. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation.

Federal law prohibits private parties from buying fully automatic weapons registered after 1986, but does let law enforcement agencies have them.

Read the rest of this Associated Press/ Yahoo! News article, Devlin Barrett and Mike Baker, here.

"There shouldn't be any private armies, that's just asking for trouble," Moyock, N.C. resident featured in this video:

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