How can a company allegedly responsible for killing 17 unarmed civilians in Baghdad in 2007 continue to get State Department and CIA contracts? CIA Director Leon Panetta says there is "not much choice" because few companies have the capabilities of Blackwater.
"Since I have become director, I have asked our agency to review every contract we have had with Blackwater and whatever their new name is now, Xe, to ensure first and foremost that we have no contract in which they are engaged in any CIA operations. We're doing our own operations. That's important that we not contract that out to anybody," Panetta told ABC's Jake Tapper Sunday.
"I have to tell you that in the war zone, we continue to have needs for security. You've got a lot of forward bases. You've got a lot of attacks on some of those bases. We've got to have security. Unfortunately, there are few companies that provide that kind of security," Panetta continued.
"State Department relies on them. We rely on them to a certain extent. So, we've bid out some of those contracts. They provided a bid that underbid everyone else by about $26 million and a panel that we had said that they can do the job, that they've shaped up their act," he said.
"There was really not much choice but to accept that contract," said Panetta.
"But having said that, I will tell you that I continue to be very cautious about any of those contracts and we're reviewing all of the bids that we have with that company," he concluded.