Blackwater founder Erik Prince revealed as a CIA spy

Adam Ciralsky's Vanity Fair profile of Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater ("a company dogged by a grand-jury investigation, bribery accusations, and the voluntary-manslaughter trial of five ex-employees") reveals that Prince was a spy for the CIA while he was at the same time raking in over a billion dollars as a government contractor in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The truth about Prince may be orders of magnitude stranger than fiction.

For the past six years, he appears to have led an astonishing double life. Publicly, he has served as Blackwater’s C.E.O. and chairman. Privately, and secretly, he has been helping [the C.I.A.] to craft, fund, and execute operations ranging from inserting personnel into “denied areas”–places U.S. intelligence has trouble penetrating–to assembling hit teams targeting al-Qaeda members.

While his company was busy gleaning more than $1.5 billion in government contracts…Prince, according to sources with knowledge of his activities, has been working as a C.I.A. asset: in a word, as a spy.

Erik Prince: Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier, Spy (Via Disinformation)

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  1. This has “comic book character” written all over it.

    Mercenary by day! CIA spy by night! Along with his trusty sidekick Dick Halliburton (aka Nightlad), Erik Prince is – BLACKWATER!

  2. So wait, its cool to use mercenaries as long as they work for a corporation, who’s CEO is working for the CIA? Killing and maiming civilians is A-O-K as long as its CIA approved?

    1. That question assumes that organizations like the CIA actually have a value system that resembles that of yours. They don’t.

  3. *snicker*

    It all gets dismissed as a conspiracy theory, until it gets confirmed. National phone taps, giant citizen databases, spooks around every corner. They’ve been doing this a long time and they’ve gotten quite good at it. To think otherwise is naive and laughable.

  4. Why is this surprising? Prince was a Navy SEAL and Blackwater’s meteoric rise doesn’t happen without insider connections. As stupid and incompetent as Blackwater’s been, I bet many inside Washington still see him as a patriot.

    1. Hey, Erik Prince isn’t a criminal!

      Breaking the law doesn’t make you a criminal unless you’re acting on the behalf of poor people, or are a celebrity that Fox News doesn’t like.

    2. Will President Obama do anything about this criminal?

      Not if this criminal can do something about President Obama first.

    3. I snorted coffee out of my nose! It stained a few of my payroll check stubs but I think I’ll manage.

  5. Would it be silly to suggest that some leading media figures are also CIA employees, or at the very least, CIA trained or handled?

    Imagining the sleeping public to wake-up in 5, 4, 3…

  6. Wait, should I be for or against outing covert CIA operatives? I seem to remember that it used to be a Bad Thing.

    1. Wait, should I be for or against outing covert CIA operatives? I seem to remember that it used to be a Bad Thing.

      Here’s a simple litmus test: is the operative running a company that murders civilians?

  7. At least Erik Prince isn’t a socialist! He got his money operating a company in the Free Market, competing against other terrifying mercenary outfits by providing the best service at the lowest price.

    Oh, wait . . .

  8. Putting his ass on the line getting our intelligence in to places it has trouble reaching?
    This guy sounds like a hero and patriot to me!

  9. An “asset” is different from a “spy”, and no, I’m not trying to nuance things here.

    A CIA operative (“spy”) is more like a car you own outright, pay for, and can use at any time to take you where you need to go. An “asset” is often more like a Taxi or “Space Available travel”. It’s gonna do it’s own thing, and maybe it will take you somewhere useful sometime if you pay enough and the stars align.

    There are millions of CIA assets around; anyone whose ever given any intel to CIA or helped out in any way is liable to be considered an “asset”. Far fewer people are operatives and cloak and dagger “spies”.

    1. CIA personnel in the Directorate of Operations are spies. So are their assets. “Spy” is not a formal job title, it’s a descriptor.

  10. He runs a merc outfit, so it does not surprise me to hear that he took business from the CIA. What does surprise me is that it sounds like he was better at doing the CIA’s job than the CIA was.

    #8 freeyourcrt: Look up Operation Mockingbird.

  11. How is it a conflict of interest to be a paid consultant for one part of DoD while your company has contracts with another part of DoD? It’s not like he was involved with the contracting process, which is how most conflicts occur.

    Sounds to me like he just had a side gig, like a lot of entrepreneurs.

    1. How is it a conflict of interest to be a paid consultant for one part of DoD while your company has contracts with another part of DoD?

      Sample scenario: Let’s say Mr. Prince wants a juicy no-bid contract to send his mercenaries to “secure” a certain neighborhood in Baghdad. He can feed the CIA some intelligence that there are Al Quaeda operatives at work at a site that later turns out to be a toy factory. A few million bucks are passed around, a few civilians die, but Blackwater gets to blame any faulty intelligence on the CIA and the CIA gets to blame any collateral damage on Blackwater (which is all but immune from prosecution anyway).

      That’s a potential conflict of interest that can lead to actual armed conflict.

  12. Fair enough Brainspore. But the story doesn’t say that Prince was providing intelligence. It says he was involved with operations (operations that sound very similar to the type of work his company was doing.) That is the risk of applying the label “spy” to everyone who does some work for the CIA.

    1. OK Scratch, even simpler scenario: Guy who runs private mercenary company also works for the division of the CIA that decides when it’s a good idea to hire contractors for operations.

      How is that NOT a conflict of interest?

  13. Brainspore…

    The scenario you propose was not what was described in the story. There are plenty of real-life cases every day where a person COULD be involved in a conflict IF they got involved with something that was, well, a conflict. It’s common to even have people working in the same company, or same office even, who can’t discuss a project without creating a conflict. But there’s nothing in this story to suggest that’s what happened with Prince.

  14. Running Blackwater and doing a little insider lobbying with the CIA? Oh c’mon, how could that cause any harm?

    Now if he was working for ACORN too, that would be unforgivable!

  15. When you say he was a “CIA spy” that sounds, like, all nefarious and stuff. Oooooohhhh! But what does this really mean? He coordinated Blackwater’s activities with the CIA in confidential meetings, helped advance their operations, and was compensated for working with them. Ooooohhhhh!

    Is anyone surprised by this? For that matter, does anyone think that it’s inappropriate? I would say not only is it appropriate, it would be criminally negligent for a private security agency to be allowed to operate in a war zone WITHOUT coordinating with the CIA.

    I have plenty of criticism to throw at both the CIA and Blackwater, but this ain’t it.

  16. So, wait.

    Conspiracy theorists have been right?!?!

    I have been called a conspiracy theorist and people have implied I might be in-f’ing-sane for saying that Blackwater was doing CIA blackops.

    Also, can anyone show me where the US Constitution authorizes this “power”? I can’t recall congress having declared war regarding these actions.

    1. I find that conspiracy theories are usually closer to the truth than mainstream news reports. No big surprise, after all, people and groups conspire all the time. Right now my child is conspiring on how he is going to get an extra cookie from the cookie jar. The maligning or mischaracterization of people who theorizes possible alternative narratives from those distributed via mainstream channels is ridiculous in my opinion.

      1. Right now my child is conspiring on how he is going to get an extra cookie from the cookie jar. The maligning or mischaracterization of people who theorizes possible alternative narratives from those distributed via mainstream channels is ridiculous in my opinion.

        If your child were the subject of numerous websites accusing him of conspiring to get extra cookies because of a secret gay/Jewish/Nazi conspiracy that needs to be fought at every turn, you might view it differently.

        1. “If your child were the subject of numerous websites accusing him of conspiring to get extra cookies because of a secret gay/Jewish/Nazi conspiracy that needs to be fought at every turn, you might view it differently.”

          I would not… one or several alternative view points don’t damn all others. But thanks for the halloween costume idea just the same.

      2. Right now my child is conspiring on how he is going to get an extra cookie from the cookie jar.

        By definition a conspiracy must involve more than one person. What’s wrong, your kid can’t figure out how to get that cookie without enlisting the help of accomplices? How does he know they can be trusted? What’s the split on the great cookie caper of 2009?

  17. Um, isn’t the identity of CIA assets and operatives classified information? And isn’t the unauthorized disclosure of classified information a felony? It really sounds like Mr. Ciralsky’s source(s) violated the law.

  18. Jebus Crust on a F*ing stick, what the hell? The worst thing about this is I can already hear Fuax News wailing about outing a CIA agent.

    If you get a shot take it, and do America some good.

  19. Newsflash: The CIA hired a mercenary, and had him do the sorts of things that people hire mercenaries for.

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