Bush And His Blackwater Ties
Joseph Schmitz, chief operating officer and general counsel: In 2002, President Bush nominated Schmitz to oversee and police the Pentagon’s military contracts as the Defense Department’s inspector general. Schmitz presided over the largest increase of military-contracting spending in history: As of 2005, 77 companies were awarded 149 “prime contracts” worth $42.1 billion, with hundreds of millions going to Blackwater. Schmitz informed his staff on Aug. 26, 2005, that he was leaving the Pentagon; in September of that year, he went to work for Blackwater.
J. Cofer Black, vice chairman: Black spent most of his 28-year CIA career running covert operations in the Directorate of Operations, where he worked with Rob Richer (below). At the time of the 9/11 attacks, he was director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. There he was former CIA Director George Tenet’s ace in the hole when it came to convincing Bush that the CIA should lead initial U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan after 9/11.
Black later went to the State Department, where one of his roles was to begin coordinating security for the 2004 Olympics in Greece. In 2003, the State Department gave Blackwater a contract to train the Olympic security teams.
In 2004, Black left the State Department to join Blackwater. In addition to his work with Blackwater and his own company, Total Intelligence Solutions, Black also recently joined the presidential campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, where he serves the Republican hopeful as senior advisor for counterterrorism and national security.
Rob Richer, vice president for intelligence: Richer was head of the CIA’s Near East division — and the agency’s liaison with King Abdullah of Jordan — from 1999 to 2004. In 2003, he briefed President Bush on the nascent Iraqi insurgency. In late 2004, he became the associate deputy director in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations. He left the agency for Blackwater in the fall of 2005, effectively taking the agency’s relationship with Abdullah with him.
Fred Fielding, former outside counsel:Blackwater feared that if it was found liable for its employees’ deaths, a floodgate of future litigation could be opened. To fight the suit, Blackwater hired Fielding, the consummate Republican insider. In January 2007, Bush chose him as White House counsel.
Ken Starr, outside counsel: Blackwater then hired another high-profile lawyer with impeccable Republican credentials.
Full article at Salon