Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, a security firm that killed unarmed civilians during the Iraq War, is reportedly advising President-elect Donald Trump (video below).
Journalist Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept, reported on Jan. 17 that a “former senior U.S. official,” who has been working with the Trump transition team, said that Prince has been advising the team on defense and intelligence, and helping vet nominees for the Defense and State departments.
Scahill noted that Prince’s wife, Stacy DeLuke, posted a picture (above) from inside Trump’s campaign headquarters on Nov. 9, 2016, on Facebook with this caption: “Waiting for the numbers to come in last night. It was well worth the wait!!!! #PresidentTrump2016.”
Scahill also noted that Prince is the brother of Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick for education secretary.
The Daily Beast reported in October 2016 that Prince contributed $100,000 to Make America Number 1 PAC, which was run by billionaire Trump-backer Robert Mercer.
In 2010, four Blackwater guards were sentenced to jail for killing 14 unarmed Iraqis in September 2007, noted The New York Times, in what became known as the “Nisour Square massacre” in Baghdad.
One guard was sentenced to life, while the other three got 30 years; a fifth guard pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
Scahill noted that Prince eventually sold Blackwater, and now runs a similar private security firm called Frontier Services Group. Prince reportedly wants his new team to work with Libyan security forces to stop Muslim refugees from immigrating to Europe.
In an interview with Democracy Now! on Jan. 18, 2017, Scahill gave his take on Prince’s background:
Well, you know, remember, Erik Prince views himself as the rightful heir to the legacy of “Wild Bill” Donovan, who was the head of the agency that was the precursor to the CIA. And, you know, immediately after 9/11, Erik Prince became very, very close to a number of people within the CIA and also [former Vice President] Dick Cheney and Dick Cheney’s office.
And they jointly came up with this idea that Erik Prince could run a kind of off-the-books hit squad that could roam the world conducting assassinations for the United States, and there would be no effective paper trail and no ability for Congress to engage in any oversight.
Sources: The Intercept, The Daily Beast, Democracy Now, Stacy DeLuke/Facebook, The New York Times / Photo credit: Stacy DeLuke/Facebook