Mercenary Firm Formerly Known as Blackwater Stymied by GAO

In a report issued yesterday, the Government Accountability Office sustained a bid protest against Blackwater Lodge and Training Center (renamed U.S. Training Center), a member of the former Blackwater family of private soldier and security companies (renamed Xe Services, LLC). According to the original award, the Army planned to pay Blackwater $1 billion to train Afghan police officers. Competitors of Blackwater objected that they were unfairly excluded from bidding on the job and the GAO agreed, holding that DoD and Blackwater “extract[ed] isolated ‘catch all’ words and phrases from [the] contract, [and] stretch[ed] the flexibility of that contract, in order to justify” restricting potential competitors of Blackwater. The blocked billion award comes on the heels of whistleblower litigation that Blackwater allegedly abused other federal contracts, including fraudulantly billing the government for prostitution services and permitting and covering up unjustified murder.

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