Ashcroft named new Blackwater ethics chief

Ben Sklar / Getty Images / AFP
John Ashcroft, the former face of Bush era-counter terrorism, has been appointed an “independent director” in charge of ethics for Xe Services, the firm formally known as Blackwater.

Ashcroft was former President George W. Bush’s attorney general and is a former US Senator. He will now lead Xe Service’s subcommittee on governance in an effort to crack down on past mishaps, like killing civilians and other violations. He is well connected in the government and will use that to his advantage.

As Bush’s attorney general Ashcroft was an adamant defender of the USA Patriot Act and often argued those who opposed the sacrifice of liberty for security were aiding terrorists.

His appointment sends a clear message Xe Services, now under new ownership, fully intends to continue its pursuit of US government contracts.

This is a company with a strong history of service to its country, and a reputation of best-in-class offerings to its public and private customers,” Ashcroft said in a statement. “I look forward to helping USTC [Xe Services] enhance its governance and oversight capabilities as the company moves forward,”

The security firm became infamous in Iraq and Afghanistan for its lack of accountability and ethics, routinely getting caught using weapons it was not authorized to use, using excessive force against advisories and even attacking civilians – including being responsible for a massacre on September 16, 2008 at Baghdad's Nusoor Square. In that incident Blackwater guards shot and killed 17 people, including women and children.

Since these incidents, focusing on policing and training, Xe Services won part of a US State Department Contract to protect diplomats at the US Consulate in Jerusalem and hopes to secure many more – despite their past.