This is an attempt to collate all of the currently available information on the recent charges filed against former Blackwater employees. There is very little information available and thus this is a short diary.
An indictment issued Friday charges Gary Jackson along with four others, including former general counsel Andrew Howell and former executive vice president Bill Mathews. The charges against Jackson include a conspiracy to violate firearms laws, false statements and possession of an unregistered firearm. Erik Prince, however, was not indicted on any of the charges.
The charges stem from a raid on Blackwater headquarters in North Carolina by ATF agents in 2008 that seized 28 weapons, including 17 AK-47s. Federal law prohibits private parties from buying fully automatic weapons registered after 1986, but does let law enforcement agencies have them. Jackson and others are charged with forging the letterhead of the local Sheriff's Department to make the purchase of these firearms appear legitimate.
At the time of the raid, Blackwater said federal authorities knew about the weapons for years and said investigators got a complete look at the company's cache in 2005 after two employees were fired.
The company also said it was not unusual to store automatic weapons because the company is licensed to sell, provide training on or even manufacture firearms.
The 2005 agreements give the sheriff's office unlimited access to the weapons, including 17 Romanian AK-47s. Perry said at the time that his department only used the AK-47s in shooting practice at Blackwater and that none of his 19 deputies were qualified to use them.
from the AP
In a 2008 interview with the AP, Jackson and other Blackwater executives said the company provided the local Camden County sheriff's office a place to store weapons, calling the gesture a "professional courtesy."
"We gave them a big safe so that they can store their own guns," Jackson said at the time. Added then-executive vice president Bill Mathews: "We give stuff to police departments all over the country, and we take particularly good care of our home police departments."
Company officials, including both Jackson and Howell, downplayed the raid during the interview. Jackson said some of the 16 uniformed officers who came to serve the warrant were embarrassed by the event and said agents had to stop at Blackwater's front gate to get passes to come onto the company's sprawling campus in northeastern North Carolina.
This story has only just broken. Look for more information to follow.
a link to the story on TPM
The full AP story here