Rep. Jan Schakowsky's (D-Illinois) attempt to end the multimillion dollar business of outsourcing in Iraq and Afghanistan doesn't sit well with the former CEO of the notorious Blackwater company, Erik Prince, who sent a hand-delivered cease-and-desist letter to the Congresswoman threatening legal action if she continued to make “false and defamatory” statements about him.
The Stop Outsourcing Security Act, introduced in 2007 by Schakowsky, would target numerous companies like the former Blackwater, now XE Services, to be eventually phased out to end the misappropriation of government functions and unaccountable abuses by contractors.
Though Schakowsky recognizes that this decision would impact numerous companies, she singled out Blackwater's bloody record as a “company that has become synonymous with misconduct” in a speech on the House floor Wednesday, and said that the letter constituted “attempted intimidation” by Prince.
The letter from Prince's attorney cited a September 8 article for the Independent UK in which Schakowsky said, “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.”
In response, the letter said: “Your statement to [the Independent], which imputes commission of a crime, is per se libelous … 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.”
With Price as CEO, Blackwater was the recipient of more than $1 billion in federal contracts to work in countries including Iraq and Afghanistan. At the same time, it was responsible for the death of more than 200 Iraqis, including the infamous shooting of 17 civilians by four Blackwater employees in 2007.
Schakowsky does not support war contractors in any function; she told Truthout in an in-depth interview: “There's going to be a report coming out pretty soon dealing with what is inherently a government function, and I'm looking forward to that. I absolutely would not [support war contractors in any position]. We cannot outsource war.”
Nor does she plan to let the letter from Prince's attorney derail her plans: “I want to make it clear to Mr. Prince that I will not stop working to end our reliance on private security contractors and to investigate any and all allegations of misconduct,” Schakowsky said.