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Chairman Waxman Seeks Further Information on Blackwater Contracts from Rice, Gates and Blackwater CEO

By: Oversight and Government Reform Committee
Published: Oct 19, 2007 at 11:20
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Today Chairman Waxman wrote to Erik Prince, Secretary Rice, and Secretary Gates, requesting further information on Blackwater's no-bid contracts, additional incidents involving their personnel in Iraq, and payments made to the families of Iraqis killed by Blackwater.

Letter To Secretary Rice

Dear Madam Secretary:

As you know, the Committee held a hearing on October 2, 2007, during which three State Department officials testified about Blackwater USA's performance as a State Department contractor. I have further inquiries about the State Department's contract with Blackwater and the Department's oversight of Blackwater's performance.

Requests for Information About Blackwater's Contracts

During the October 2 hearing, there was discussion of Blackwater's contracts with the federal government for security services in Iraq. William Moser, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Logistics Management, told the Committee that Blackwater's first State Department contract in Iraq, which was awarded in June 2004 and for which Blackwater was ultimately paid $488 million, was a sole-source award. Mr. Moser testified that at the time of the sole-source award, "there was market research done. We examined the capabilities of four other firms and made the determination whether they could take on this task of providing these services." This market research did not result in open competition for the June 2004 contract.

Please provide the Committee with the following information:

1. All documents related to the June 2004 award of the sole-source contract to Blackwater, including:

a. Blackwater's contract proposal;
b. The sole-source justification and approval;
c. The memorandum of negotiation;
d. Any cost analysis performed by the State Department;
e. Any information demonstrating Blackwater's capacity to perform the work required under the contract;
f. All documents related to market research conducted at or around the time of the June 2004 sole-source award that analyzed the capabilities of other security firms to perform the work;
g. All communications between Blackwater officials or representatives and State Department officials prior to the award of the contract; and
h. All communications among State Department officials or with other executive branch officials regarding the award of the contract to Blackwater.

Requests for Information About Blackwater Payments to Victims

According to documents produced to the Committee by the State Department, on multiple occasions Blackwater made payments to compensate the families of Iraqis who were killed by Blackwater personnel. Mr. Prince testified that he had discussed the sum to be given to the family of at least one Blackwater victim with "State Department officials."

Please provide the Committee with the following information:

2. All documents related to any payments to compensate Iraqis or the families of Iraqis injured or killed by security contractor personnel, including all communications regarding the negotiations on and determination of the amount of compensation;

3. For every incident for which security contractors either directly or indirectly made payments to compensate Iraqis or the families of Iraqis injured or killed by security contractor personnel, please provide the Committee with information sufficient to determine:

a. The date of each payment;
b. The amount of each payment;
c. The identity of each recipient;
d. A description of the incidents leading to each payment; and
e. Any sanctions imposed by the contractor company or any government entity against the contractor personnel responsible for the incident.

Requests for Information About the Investigation of Additional Incidents

On October 1, 2007, a State Department spokesman stated the State Department is "scrupulous in terms of oversight and scrutiny not only of Blackwater but all of our contractors. I would strongly dispute anyone's assertion that the State Department has not exercised good and strong oversight in our efforts to manage these contractors." Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte further has asserted that every incident in which Blackwater fires its weapon is "reviewed by management officials to ensure the procedures were followed"

In response to previous requests from the Committee, the State Department has provided information about some incidents. However, other incidents have come to the Committee's attention about which the Department has provided little or no information. Please provide the Committee with the following information:

4. All incident reports, investigative reports, and other documents relating to all incidents involving security contractor personnel including:

a. All incidents involving the discharge of firearms by or against Blackwater personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, including incidents resulting in injury, death, or damage to property;
b. All incidents involving improper or unprofessional behavior by Blackwater personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, including all incidents resulting in termination or other disciplinary action against security contractor personnel; and
c. All incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan that could reflect negatively on the Blackwater or its clients, including all incidents that led to complaints or allegations of misconduct by Blackwater personnel;

5. All incident reports, investigative reports, and other documents relating to the following specific incidents:

a. The October 20, 2005, incident described in Blackwater documents in which Blackwater guards fired a "four round burst into the grill" of a car in which children were riding.
b. The February 12, 2006, incident in Kirkuk described in Blackwater documents and a letter from the Provincial Council of Kirkuk in which Blackwater guards were involved in a shooting incident that killed two innocent civilians and injured another.
c. The June 25, 2006, incident described in Blackwater documents in which Blackwater guards fired 18 shots into the engine and windshield of a truck.
d. The May 24, 2007, incident described in Blackwater documents in which Blackwater guards shot multiple rounds into a maroon sedan.
e. A 2006 incident described by Newsweek in which a Blackwater vehicle collided with an Army Humvee inside the Green Zone and Blackwater personnel reportedly drew their weapons on the U.S. soldiers, disarmed them, and "made them lie on the ground at gunpoint until they could disentangle the SUV."

State Department Cost Estimates for Diplomatic Security Deployment

During the hearing, Committee members discussed the costs associated with contracting security services under the State Department's WPPS II contract. Ambassador Griffin testified that "the fact is that the cost for a State Department special agent to be deployed in a high-threat area approaches $500,000." Please provide the Committee with the following information:

6. All documents relating to this $500,000 estimate, including documents or an explanation sufficient to show the accounting basis for Ambassador Griffin's assertion.

Conclusion

Please provide the documents requested in this letter no later than Friday, November 2, 2007. All presently unclassified documents should be produced directly to the Committee without delay. If any responsive documents are presently classified, please contact Committee staff to arrange for prompt delivery under appropriate procedures.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the principal oversight committee in the House of Representatives and has broad oversight jurisdiction as set forth in House Rule X. Enclosed with this letter are instructions on how to respond to the Committee's document request.

If you have any questions, please contact Theodore Chuang or Christopher Davis of the Committee staff at (202) 225-5420.

Sincerely,

Henry A. Waxman
Chairman

Enclosure

cc: Tom Davis
Ranking Minority Member

Letter to Secretary Gates

The Honorable Robert M. Gates
Secretary
U.S. Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I am writing to request additional information from the Defense Department relating to the Committee's ongoing investigation into the work of Blackwater USA in Iraq and Afghanistan.

First, I request information regarding an incident that occurred on December 24, 2006, in which a Blackwater official shot and killed a security guard for the Vice President of Iraq. The Committee has been informed that the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command may have investigated this incident. On March 31, 2007, I requested from the Department documents relating to all incidents involving private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. On September 11, 2007, I renewed the Committee's request for documents on this particular incident and also requested a briefing. To date, the Committee has received no information from the Defense Department relating to this incident.

I again renew the Committee's request for documents and a briefing relating to the December 24, 2006, incident. In addition, I ask that the Department make the following individuals available for transcribed interviews:

a. Larry L. Turso, Special Agent, U.S. Army CID; and

b. Gregory Davis, U.S. Air Force, formerly Director of Security in within Baghdad's International Zone.

Second, I request information about the recent incident involving Blackwater on September 16, 2007, in Baghdad's Nisour Square, which reportedly resulted in a military investigation. According to recent press reports, U.S. military reports indicate that Blackwater guards opened fire without provocation and used excessive force against Iraqi civilians, in some cases firing on Iraqi vehicles that were trying to flee the scene. According to the press accounts, the military reports relied in part on U.S. military personnel who were imbedded with the Iraqi police in the vicinity of Nisour Square at the time of the incident, as well as photographic evidence taken at the scene of the violence and other photographs taken from an aerial drone shortly after the incident.

I request all documents relating to the September 16, 2007 incident and the investigation into the incident, including:

a. All documents pertaining to the statements from eyewitnesses or video footage of the incident, which U.S. soldiers have reportedly reviewed;
b. All documents pertaining to members of a U.S. unit working with Iraqi police who were present in the area at the time of the shootings; and
c. All documents pertaining to U.S. soldiers who helped ferry victims to hospitals.

Third, I request information about an incident involving a 2006 traffic accident in Baghdad. According to a recent press report, a Blackwater vehicle collided with an Army Humvee within the Green Zone, after which the Blackwater personnel reportedly drew their weapons on the U.S. soldiers, disarmed them, and "made them lie on the ground at gunpoint until they could disentangle the SUV." According to the press account, a follow-up investigation was conducted by the Army. I request all documents relating to this incident.

Finally, in the Committee's March 31, 2007, letter to the Department, I requested copies of all "[i]ncident reports, investigative reports, and all other documents relating to complaints or allegations of misconduct." In response, the Defense Department has provided only a classified spreadsheet. In light of recent events in Iraq, I renew my request for incident reports involving private military contractors and specifically request incident reports and investigative reports relating to shooting incidents involving private military contractors operating in Iraq to the present date. I also request that you direct your staff to work with Committee staff to determine what information may be disclosed on an unclassified basis.

I ask that you provide the documents, briefings, and interviews requested in this letter no later than Friday, November 2, 2007. All presently unclassified documents should be produced directly to the Committee without delay. If any responsive documents are presently classified, please contact Committee staff to arrange for prompt delivery under appropriate procedures.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the principal oversight committee in the House of Representatives and has broad oversight jurisdiction as set forth in House Rule X. Enclosed with this letter are additional instructions on how to respond to the Committee's document request.

If you have any questions and to schedule the requested interviews, please contact Theodore Chuang or Christopher Davis of the Committee staff at (202) 225-5420.

Sincerely,

Henry A. Waxman
Chairman

Enclosures

cc: Tom Davis
Ranking Minority Member


Letter to Blackwater CEO Erik Prince

Mr. Erik Prince
Chairman
The Prince Group
1650 Tysons Boulevard, Suite 800
McLean, VA 22102

Dear Mr. Prince:

Thank you for testifying before the Committee on October 2, 2007. As I mentioned during the hearing, I am writing to follow up and to request additional documents regarding Blackwater's work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Requests for Information About Blackwater's Contracts

During the October 2 hearing, you testified that both Blackwater's 2003 contract with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), worth $117 million, and Blackwater's first contract with the State Department in 2004, for which Blackwater was ultimately paid $488 million, were competitively bid. As you stated, the federal government chose Blackwater as a bid contract "off the GSA Schedule."

Later in the hearing, however, the Committee learned that in fact both contracts were awarded with no competition. With respect to Blackwater's 2003 CPA contract, you corrected your testimony and told the Committee that the contract award was in fact "sole-source." In the second panel, William Moser, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Logistics Management, told the Committee that Blackwater's 2004 State Department contract was also sole-source.
Please provide the Committee with the following information relating to these two contracts:

1. All documents related to the award of the 2003 CPA contract and the 2004 State Department contract to Blackwater, including:

a. Blackwater's contract proposals;
b. The sole-source justifications and approvals;
c. The memoranda of negotiation;
d. Any cost analysis performed by the contracting agencies;
e. Any information demonstrating Blackwater's capacity to perform the work required under the contracts;
f. All communications regarding the 2003 CPA contract between Blackwater officials or representatives and CPA or other federal officials prior to the award of the 2003 CPA contract; and
g. All communications regarding the 2004 State Department contract between Blackwater officials or representatives and State Department or other federal officials prior to the award of the 2004 State Department contract;

2. The annual amount paid to Blackwater under each of Blackwater's government contracts from 1997 to 2007;

3. For each year since 2001, and for the Prince Group and all affiliated companies, the following information:

a. Each company's total annual profit;
b. Each company's total annual profit from all government contracts;
c. Each company's total annual profit under the CPA and WPPS II contracts; and
d. Each company's total annual profit from "Short Take Off and Landing" contracts with the government;

4. An itemized list of your total annual income derived from Prince Group entities, including any salary, bonuses, or other payments for each year since 2001;

5. For Blackwater's current WPPS II contract in Iraq, the following information:

a. The daily rate Blackwater charges the U.S. State Department for a single Blackwater security contractor;
b. A breakdown of how funds paid for these services are used by Blackwater, including but not limited to salary, equipment costs, and profit;
c. The daily rate paid to a Blackwater security contractor; the average annual number of days worked, and average annual salary of a Blackwater security contractor; and
6. Any documents comparing the cost of hiring Blackwater personnel versus U.S. military personnel or State Department personnel to perform personal security services for the U.S. State Department in Iraq.

Requests for Information About the Christmas Eve Shooting

During your testimony, you were asked about the December 24, 2006, shooting of a guard of the Iraqi Vice President by a Blackwater employee who has since been identified in media reports as Andrew Moonen. Committee members asked what steps Blackwater took as a result of this incident. You testified that Blackwater "fired him. We fined him. But we as a private organization can't do any more. We can't flog him. We can't incarcerate him." In fact, it was later revealed at the hearing that Blackwater had not fined Mr. Moonen but instead had simply withheld bonuses and back pay.

On October 5, 2007, CNN reported that in February 2007, Mr. Moonen was hired by Combat Support Services Associates (CSA), a Defense Department contractor, to work in Kuwait through August 2007. According to this report, "Because the State Department and Blackwater kept the incident quiet and out of Moonen's personnel records, CSA was unaware of the December incident when it hired Moonen." This report also stated that in April 2007, the U.S. Army tried to call Mr. Moonen, a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division, back to active duty, but cancelled the request upon learning that he was already overseas.

I request that you provide the Committee with all documents related to the Blackwater's response to the December 24, 2006 incident, including:

7. All documents relating to Blackwater's efforts to notify government entities, other contractors, or others in a position to hire or contract with Mr. Moonen for work relating to the Iraq War of Mr. Moonen's involvement in the Christmas Eve shooting;

8. All documents relating to Blackwater's efforts to respond to any inquiries from Combat Support Associates, government entities, or contractors that considered hiring or contracting with Mr. Moonen;

9. All documents relating to Blackwater's efforts to cancel the security clearances of Mr. Moonen;

10. The daily salary and total amount paid by Blackwater to Mr. Moonen; and

11. The profit earned by Blackwater through Mr. Moonen's work.

Requests for Information About Blackwater Payments to Victims

According to documents produced to the Committee by the State Department, on multiple occasions Blackwater made payments to compensate the families of Iraqis who were killed by Blackwater personnel. You testified that you had discussed the sum to be given to the family of at least one Blackwater victim with "State Department officials."

Please provide the Committee with the following information:

12. All documents related to any payments to compensate Iraqis or the families of Iraqis injured or killed by Blackwater personnel, including all communications regarding the negotiations on and determination of the amount of compensation;

13. For every incident for which Blackwater either directly or indirectly made payments to compensate Iraqis or the families of Iraqis injured or killed by Blackwater personnel, please provide the Committee with information sufficient to determine:

a. The date of each payment;
b. The amount of each payment;
c. The identity of each recipient;
d. A description of the incidents leading to each payment; and
e. Any sanctions imposed by Blackwater or any governmental entity upon the personnel responsible for the incident.

Requests for Information About Additional Incidents

During your testimony, you stated that Blackwater "performs only defensive security functions." You also stated, "An incident occurs typically when our men fear for their life, they're not able to extract themselves from the situation, they have to use sufficient defensive fire to get off the X, to get off that place where the bad guys have tried to kill Americans that day."

In response to previous requests from the Committee, Blackwater has provided information about specific incidents. However, other incidents have come to the Committee's attention about which Blackwater has provided little or no information. For this reason, I reiterate my earlier request for the following information:

14. All incident reports, investigative reports, and other documents relating to all incidents involving security contractor personnel including:

a. All incidents involving the discharge of firearms by or against Blackwater personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, including but not limited to incidents which resulted in injury, death, or damage to property;
b. All incidents involving improper or unprofessional behavior by Blackwater personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, including all incidents resulting in termination or other disciplinary action against security contractor personnel; and
c. All incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan that could reflect negatively on the Blackwater or its clients, including all incidents that led to complaints or allegations of misconduct by Blackwater personnel;

15. All incident reports, investigative reports, and other documents relating to the following incidents:

a. A May 2004 incident described in the Los Angeles Times in which a Blackwater convoy pulled into oncoming traffic, fired on a vehicle that was approaching, and killed one of the passengers in the back seat.
b. A June 25, 2005, incident described by the State Department in which a Blackwater team on a mission in Al-Hillah killed an Iraqi man, who received a fatal shot to the chest.
c. A 2006 incident described by Newsweek in which a Blackwater vehicle collided with an Army Humvee inside the Green Zone and Blackwater personnel reportedly drew their weapons on the US soldiers, disarmed them, and "made them lie on the ground at gunpoint until they could disentangle the SUV."

Miscellaneous Requests for Information

According to a military official who has contacted the Committee, in 2005 Blackwater attempted to transport at least two Iraqi military aircraft out of Iraq. The official stated that the Iraqi Ministry of Defense attempted to reclaim the aircraft, but that Blackwater would not comply. Please provide the Committee with the following information:

16. All documents related to efforts by Blackwater to remove Iraqi aircraft from Iraq and the current whereabouts of such aircraft.

Conclusion

Please provide the documents requested in this letter no later than Friday, November 2, 2007. All presently unclassified documents should be produced directly to the Committee without delay. If any responsive documents are presently classified, please contact Committee staff to arrange for prompt delivery under appropriate procedures.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the principal oversight committee in the House of Representatives and has broad oversight jurisdiction as set forth in House Rule X. Enclosed with this letter are instructions on how to respond to the Committee's document request.

If you have any questions, please contact Theodore Chuang or Christopher Davis of the Committee staff at (202) 225-5420.

Sincerely,

Henry A. Waxman
Chairman

Enclosure

cc: Tom Davis
Ranking Minority Member





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