Roll Call reports (sub. req.) that Blackwater and its private-security colleagues are investing heavily in lobbyists to prevent Congress from passing legislation regulating their war-zone activities.
âItâs a little bit frustrating because there are 15 different committees that have jurisdiction over what our industry does,â said Doug Brooks, president of the International Peace Operations Association, whose members include Blackwater and DynCorp. âWe are pulled in all these different directions.â
The private-security industry is lining up behind a bill by Rep. David Price (D-NC) to put their firms under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, thereby creating a more coherent legal framework for their operations. Apparently it wouldn't be such an onerous one. Here's how Blackwater lobbyist Alan Chvotkin described competing legislation backed by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), which would "would require more transparency in the contracts":
âOur disagreements with Mrs. Schakowsky are over the amount of detail that she would like to see reported, versus our view of whatâs useful information to policy makers,â Chvotkin said. âShe wants compensation levels and hours worked, those kinds of things will change with every shift, every day, and in our view it doesnât help a policy maker to know that.â
Lobbyists for private-security companies describe regulating Blackwater and its ilk as having "life or death consequences" in places like Iraq. Somehow, though, they may not have to worry.