Blackwater Helped CIA with Raids

Private security guards working for the defense contractor Blackwater Worldwide took part in secret CIA raids—"snatch and grab" operations for capturing or killing suspected insurgents that occurred on an almost nightly basis in Iraq from 2004 to 2006. One Blackwater employee interviewed by The New York Times said that the two entities had "a very brotherly relationship," and that "there was a feeling that Blackwater almost became an extension of the agency." Blackwater's involvement in the raids seems to have grown out of contracts to provide perimeter security for some stations operated by the intelligence agency, with the private guards oftentimes being recruited to accompany case officers on missions. The CIA refused to comment on Blackwater, but did point out that "just as American law permits," the agency employs contractors. New Jersey Democrat Rush Holt, who chairs the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, called the use of contractors in intelligence operations "a scandal waiting to be examined."