Obama Takes a Mulligan on Blackwater.
The security contractor Blackwater Worldwide tried for two years to secure lucrative defense business in Southern Sudan while the country was under U.S. economic sanctions, according to current and former U.S. officials and hundreds of pages of documents reviewed by McClatchy.
The effort to drum up new business in East Africa by Blackwater owner Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL who had close ties with top officials in the George W. Bush White House and the CIA, became a major element in a continuing four-year federal investigation into allegations of sanctions violations, illegal exports and bribery.
The Obama administration, however, has decided for now not to bring criminal charges against Blackwater, according to a U.S. official close to the case.
Instead, the U.S. government and the private military contractor are negotiating a multimillion-dollar fine to settle allegations that Blackwater violated U.S. export control regulations in Sudan, Iraq and elsewhere.
Same old story. Corporation breaks laws, one administration investigates, another decides against pressing charges, everyone settles on a fine that's worth far less than the aggregate wages of the investigated sins, everyone's happy.
Because how embarrassing would it be if we decided to enforce federal law on a crooked contractor to whom we've just given almost a quarter of a billion dollars worth of contracts on top of $200 million more, especially when the $200 million contract to train Afghani security forces became a mere front for a massive gun-running operation?
Bottom line: Four years ago, the Bush administration actually tried to do the right thing and the Obama administration decided to derail four years of hard work for an undisclosed pay off and money keeps changing hands until it falls apart.
What was it that someone said about there being honor among thieves?