I just finished an interesting Podcast with Jake Allen, former PMC contractor and Marine officer who's in the private security biz and a regular contributor to Defense Tech and The Private Military Herald online e-zine.
Jake and I had a conversation about the stories surrounding the CIA contracts with Blackwater to form al Qaeda kill/capture squads and service lethal drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
While Jake never worked for Blackwater, he's got many colleagues who have and he's well enough connected within the industry to deliver thoughtful insights into the controversy and some unique perspectives on how the CIA contracts and what their capabilities are.
To Jake, the CIA hit team contract shouldn't have been much of a surprise to anyone except that it was with Blackwater -- a company whose image personifies everything that was bad about the Iraq war. And on the Predator servicing contract, Jake said "if it were Raytheon, Lockheed Martin or any of the other big named aerospace contractors that could have done this kind of work nobody would have batted an eye..."
But Jake wasn't necessarily defending Blackwater. He did say the company had benefitted from a lack of government oversight and that more should be done to keep an eye on how taxpayers' dollars are being spent by PMCs.
Be sure to listen (or download) the entire interview and be sure to check back next month when the hearings kick off on both controversial programs.