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Well it's about time!
Just in from the New York Times:

CIA Director Leon Panetta has canceled a contract with the former Blackwater security firm that allowed the company's operatives to load missiles on Predator drones in Pakistan.

Panetta canceled the contract earlier this year and the work is being transitioned to government personnel, a person familiar with the contract said Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the classified program.

This is an AP article in the Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/...

It seems obvious to me that the recent allegations by Eric Prince that Blackwater was involved in top secret CIA operations is a desperate attempt to avoid a criminal investigation. The article goes on to say that Blackwater employees were NEVER used in CIA missions in a direct capacity:

News of the cancellation of the contract came on the heels of published reports late Thursday that Blackwater security operatives joined CIA agents in ''snatch and grab'' raids that took place regularly between 2004 and 2006, when violence from the insurgency in Iraq was escalating.

A U.S. official confirmed to AP on Thursday that Blackwater provided security and traveled with CIA teams on missions in war zones, but emphasized they were not hired to directly participate in sensitive CIA missions.

snip

Separately, CIA spokesman George Little said Friday that ''at this time, Blackwater is not involved in any CIA operations other than in a security or support role.''

Xe Services said Friday that Blackwater was not under contract for involvement in the secret raids.

''Blackwater USA was never under contract to participate in covert raids with CIA or Special Operations personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else. Any allegation to the contrary by any news organization would be false,'' Xe spokesman Mark Corallo said in an e-mailed statement.

Thank goodness Leon Panetta made this move. It sickens me to see this company still being paid with our tax dollars.

Cheers.

UPDATE 1: from the comments, fascinating info from ferallike:

Don't expect this to be the end of hearing about Blackwater and other filthy contractors in places they simply should not be. They are firmly entrenched in these positions because contractors have been taking over these jobs for 30 years and we don't have qualified trained people to go in and take over at this exact moment. Many of these contractors are people who were former CIA Blue Badgers who retired at the first minute allowed to go to work for Blackwater and other contracting firms (many far more legit than Blackwater/xe) as contractors making twice what they made as Fed Employees.

There has been some talk of rehiring some of the less sketchy former contractors and Blackwater employees are not being considered from what I've heard from a coworker of hubby. But there is a problem. The money. The money to go into the Fed CIA position is half of what they got as contractors so luring the more decent ones in at half the salary is going to be difficult as this is a very high cost of living area and it really is a monetary sacrifice to work for the Fed Gov.

We've got to start screaming loud and clear about what Reagan did to our Intel agencies with his f#%king downsizing. You can't ethically or morally contract out Intel or Military positions and not pay a huge price for it later as we're now seeing.

full comment here: http://www.dailykos.com/...

Originally posted to Animal Nuz on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 04:09 PM PST.

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