Lawmaker Calls for Banning Mercenaries Formerly Known as Blackwater

Academi, the private military firm formerly known as Blackwater, was recently fined $7.5 for violating export controls on body armor and ammunition. But one Congressman thinks that isn’t enough. Massachusetts Rep. John Tierney is asking the Department of State and Department of Defense to reevaluate the fines and to suspending and disbarring the company.

“This has been a repeated problem that’s gone on — this isn’t a one-off situation, and it’s not just Blackwater,” Tierney said in an interview with POLITICO. “We’ve had companies taking millions of dollars from taxpayers, repeatedly making questionable decisions. … If we don’t hold them accountable, then it’s going to keep happening.”

Tierney, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, has criticized Academi before, introducing legislation aimed at stopping waste and practices he says put national security at risk.

The accusations covered by the settlement include exporting ammunition and body armor to Iraq and Afghanistan without authorization, shipping encrypted satellite phones to the government of South Sudan through Kenya and possibly exporting armed helicopters without approval.

Academi, formerly called Blackwater and then Xe Services, also reached a $42 million agreement in 2010 with the State Department after similar arms charges.

Continue reading at Politico.

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