Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) publicly accused Blackwater founder Eric Prince of attempting to intimidate her because of her continued effort to reduce America’s reliance on security contractors suchs as Blackwater, renamed Xe last year. Schakowsky introduced legislation to this effect in 2007.
Schakowsky has introduced the Stop Outsourcing Security Act since 2007, as a way to phase out private contractors like Blackwater. “While the problem applies to other private contractors,” she said Wednesday, “there is one company that has become synonymous with misconduct: Blackwater.”
Blackwater came under heavy scrutinty during the war in Iraq that year when it was allaeged that the contractor’s operatives opened fire in Nasiour Square in Baghdad, killing 17 civilians.
The letter cites a September 8 article published by the Independent in London about Prince’s Blackwater video game. The article quotes Schakowsky as saying: “If Mr. Prince had not emigrated to the United Arab Emirates, which does not have an extradition agreement with the US, he too would now be facing prosecution.”
“Your statement to [the Independent], which imputes commission of a crime, is per se libelous,” the letter from Prince says, adding: “Your malice cannot be questioned. You have a multi-year history of making derogatory comments about Mr. Prince and his former company, Blackwater. You have abused your Congressional power to request that Mr. Prince be investigated.”
Prince threatened legal action against Schakowsky, calling her claims “per se libelous.” There’s no doubt this is intimidation, and she’s right on (and impressively bold) to call him out on this. If anything, Prince has shown here why privatizing military operations is a bad idea. There is rarely, if ever, this kind of controversy with the U.S. military, as they have clear protocol and regulations in place.
Perhaps Schakowsky’s legislation will fall on more attentive ears in the wake of Prince’s failed attempt at bullying the Congresswoman.