Hans Van Beuge of SAVIOR Services showed me an interesting article about how more and more civilian security contractors (or PSD’s) operating in War-zones are becoming the course of unfiltered news occurring on the front lines. Unhampered by government or military restrictions, some of these contractors have taken to writing Blogs to document their experiences and share them with the broader world. To read the full story, click HERE.
At least 100 are dead after:
A gunmen attacked security checkpoints in Bagdad +
A man armed with expolsives strapped to his body set it off in a crowd of people
+ A bomber struck in a souther city in Iraq today. = The deadliest attack of the year. Read the full account HERE.
Defense Department officials now say that more than 18,000 armed security contractors are working in Iraq or Afghanistan under Pentagon auspices, according to a new report by the Congressional Research Service that was obtained by NPR.
The bulk of the gun-toting contractors — some 13,232 as of June 30 — are in Iraq, where they guard U.S. bases, defend convoys and serve as personal bodyguards for high-level officials. The remaining 5,165 armed civilians perform similar functions in Afghanistan.
Related: My interview with Portfolio Magazine on the World of Private Security
The Security & Intelligence fields learned a lot from this tragic day.
Let’s not forget.
“A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”
In their testimony, both men also allege that Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq. One of the men alleges that Prince turned a profit by transporting “illegal” or “unlawful” weapons into the country on Prince’s private planes. They also charge that Prince and other Blackwater executives destroyed incriminating videos, emails and other documents and have intentionally deceived the US State Department and other federal agencies. The identities of the two individuals were sealed out of concerns for their safety.
“A helicopter from private military contractor Xe crashed outside Baghdad on Friday, killing two crew members and leaving two other injured, a company spokeswoman said.
The MD-530 “Little Bird” went down Friday morning at Butler Range, a training facility outside Baghdad, said Stacy Capace, a spokeswoman for the company formerly known as Blackwater.
An investigation into the crash is under way, and it was not known whether there was any hostile fire in the area at the time”.
Condolences to the families of the Private Security Contractor’s lost and a speedy recovery to the injured.
For the full story, click HERE.
Icon – Behind the Bodyguard Business holds a spotlight where we feature someone in the Executive Protection, Security or Investigation industry. Our hope is to provide some insight into our profession and also show newcomers & the media that people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe do this type of work with honor and pride. No it’s not like the movies, but it can be rewarding, thrilling, and yes, sometimes fun.
Agent Name: Michael D. Brown
Company Name: Bishop Innovative Group, LLC
Home city: Jacksonville, FL
What made you decide you wanted to get into the Protection industry?
After serving as a Marine Security Guard at a few embassies, it just seemed to click. Different aspects of the job just came natural to me, almost like applying common sense. Along with the gratitude expressed by the protectees…I thought, “This could be a very great job with some nice perks and incentives.” Can you give us some examples of the formalized training have you taken? I have received training via U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. State Department, training through law enforcement agencies, with the company formally know as Blackwater, and a ton of self-educating through reading several author’s books on the topic. You never know enough to stop training or learning!
What are some of the differences between working in the military and as a private contractor?
In the military you KNOW what training the guy next to you has had because chances are you attended the same course allowing you to operate in a more cohesive atmosphere. In the private sector you can run into people who “know someone who knows someone” that gets them in on a detail with little or no training. This is what hurts the industry and the true professionals out there trying to make a respectable living. You can’t ‘pose’ as a protective agent in the military…you either are or you’re not.
Considering you have vast operational experience working overseas in “hostile environments” how do you make the transition between an area like Iraq where the treat level is extremely high, and say a domestic EP assignment where more subtleness is required?
Its my belief that you have to pay closer attention when working domestic details because of the would be assailant’s ability to blend in with the environment much better, their being more educated and knowledgeable on our tactics and the tech savvy knowledge with placing surveillance devices in rooms and vehicles. In overseas high-risk details your footprint is large and overt. You want people to know you are escorting the client once out of the vehicle(s) to give a “hard target” appearance. With no true traffic laws to obey and most of the time the locals moving out of the way when rolling in a 2-3 vehicle convoy (smile), time to target is relatively short. So driving would be the main issue I find I must adjust to the most. Its never a problem with toning down the level of aggression because within both locations awareness is the key, not aggression.
Can you share a bit of one of your best experiences in the industry so far?
Having the client remember your name and asking for you to return (by name) for future details. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar gave me a signed Legends of Final Four basketball card in a plastic case…that was sweet too!
To someone coming up after you in the industry, what advice would you give?
Ask yourself if you possess a spirit of service and be honest with your answer. If you cannot be a service provider on a continual basis, look for another line of work. Find a mentor. Listen to the mentor. Educate yourself on the profession and get as much training in first aid, BLS, tactical combat casualty, defensive driving, and of course EP as possible. Get your concealed weapons license and/or your State’s license that allows you to work as a ‘bodyguard’. Also, if you plan on working overseas, get a passport and go to AAA and get your international driver’s licenses. Those I believe will lay a strong foundation to build upon.
Personal Protection Specialist Michael Brown can be reached at- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 904-514-5727
RALEIGH, N.C. – Blackwater Worldwide is still protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq, but executives at the beleaguered security firm are taking their biggest step yet to put that work and the ugly reputation it earned the company behind them.
Blackwater said Friday it will no longer operate under the name that came to be known worldwide as a caustic moniker for private security, dropping the tarnished brand for a disarming and simple identity: Xe, which is pronounced like the letter “z.”
For the full story click Here.
Well we all know Blackwater has had some problems. The question remains will a fresh coat of paint make everything brand new or is this just a way to get some of their detractors off of their back?
Related: My interview with Portfolio Magazine regarding Blackwater and the rise of Private Security.
A direct link to the interview series with Conde Nast Portfolio Magazine on the World of Security and the differences associated with Executive Protection, Celebrity Security and High Risk Overseas Details.
And if you hadn’t seen it before, you can check out the companion article here.
Federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to some of the Blackwater employees present at a Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad in which the company’s security personnel killed 17 Iraqi civilians, lawyers in the case and government officials briefed on the matter said Monday. The opening of the grand jury inquiry is a significant step in the case because it indicates that prosecutors believe that there is enough evidence of wrongdoing to warrant a formal criminal investigation.
Grand Jury = Trouble
Click on the link for the full story.