U.S. Indicts 5 Blackwater Ex-Officials
By JAMES RISEN and MARK MAZZETTI
WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors charged the former president of Blackwater Worldwide and four other former senior company officials on Friday with weapons violations and making false statements in the first criminal inquiry to reach into the top management ranks of the private security company.
The executives were some of the closest advisers to Blackwater’s founder, Erik Prince, and helped him steer the company during its swift rise to become the leading contractor providing security for American diplomats in Iraq and Afghanistan, working for the State Department, the C.I.A. and the Pentagon.
They were also the senior executives in charge during the company’s most turbulent period, after its security guards were involved in a series of shootings, including one in Baghdad in 2007 that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead.
Mr. Prince, who was not charged, remains at the helm of the company, now known as Xe Services, while many other executives have left as the company has sought to reshape its public image in the face of mounting legal and political scrutiny.........