CIA Cuts Blackwater Ties

The CIA has terminated its contract with Blackwater Worldwide (now called Xe Services) that employed the security company to load bombs on drone aircraft used by the agency in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The New York Times had revealed the existence of the deal, which paid Blackwater employees to assemble and load Hellfire missiles and laser-guided bombs on secret bases, in August, writing about disputes between the contractor and some CIA employees, who accused the Blackwater operatives of shoddy work and poor weapon assembly (one story held that a bomb dropped off a Predator drone before the drone had launched its payload). "At this time, Blackwater is not involved in any CIA operations other than in a security or support role," said agency spokesman George Little. CIA employees are taking over the jobs performed by Blackwater's workers at the drone bases.