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Ashcroft Joins Former Blackwater Firm As Head Of Ethics Committee

Xe Services, the military contractor formally known as Blackwater, announced today that former Attorney General John Ashcroft would be advising the company on ethics.

Politico reports:

Ashcroft, who became a controversial figure while serving as George W. Bush's attorney general from 2001 to 2005, will head the company's subcommittee on governance, which "will focus on the company's efforts to maximize governance, compliance and accountability, continuing to build and promote the highest degrees of ethics and professionalism within the private security industry."

As Wired puts it, it means that Xe is continuing to try to reshape its image — the company was found to have killed civilians while working on government contracts during the Iraq war — and send a "clear signal it's not giving up the quest for lucrative government security contracts now that it's no longer owned by founder Erik Prince, even as it emphasizes the side of its business that trains law enforcement officers."

"I'm delighted to be involved in USTC's next phase of ownership and growth, particularly in helping to oversee its commitment to professionalism, compliance and accountability within the security industry," The Hill quotes Ashcroft as saying. "This is a company with a strong history of service to its country, and a reputation of best-in-class offerings to its public and private customers. I look forward to helping USTC enhance its governance and oversight capabilities as the company moves forward."

As attorney general, Ashcroft was a supporter of the the Patriot Act, but he's also known for having stood up to the Bush administration on the issue of warrantless wiretapping.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.