The private mercenary company Blackwater, despite years of serious allegations of human rights abuses across the world, is only seeing bigger opportunities for expansion. The latest (via independent American journalist Tim Shorrock), is this:
Blackwater, the notorious mercenary company now known as “Xe,” has a new Chief Operating Officer (COO) – Charles (Chuck) Thomas, formerly of the British-owned defense and intelligence contractor BAE Systems Inc. According to today’s press release from Blackwater owner USTC Holdings LLC,
Thomas joined Xe on September 6, 2011, retired as a Major General in the U.S. Army, where he held the position of Chief of Staff, Headquarters, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command from 1998 to 2001; Commanding General, U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School and Ft. Huachuca from 1994 to 1998; Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence, U.S. Army Europe from 1993 to 1994; Vice Director of Intelligence for the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1991 to 1993 and Director of the Joint Intelligence Center, U.S. Central Command in the first Gulf War; and many other leadership positions throughout his military career. He is based at the company’s new headquarters office in Arlington, Va.
Now that’s a pretty deep intelligence background – perfect for a company that is involved in some of the CIA’s most covert operations in Pakistan and elsewhere. It might take a while for reporters to figure out what this appointment means in the long run. So in the meanwhile let’s take a look at some Twitter postings today from an informed source on all things covert to explain a little about Thomas’ past and how his past jobs will enhance Blackwater’s role in the U.S. wars in the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere on the planet (the author of these tweets asked to remain anonymous and I will respect that request).
Thomas at Xe is very bad. For a multitude of reasons. Chief among them, his vast knowledge base in compartmentalization…For starters, Thomas was STO on the Joint Staff under Cheney and Powell. What does that mean? STO, or special technical operations officers, manage and “oversee” — heh — Special Access Programs, of the legal & extra-legal variety…The dude ran pretty much every military intelligence element at every echelon…He ran the Army’s intel schoolhouse at Huachuca…Then, he assumes command of TRADOC and the predecessor to what is now Human Terrain System (Note: see my Daily Beast article on HTS here)…In summation: Chuck Thomas brings to BW/Xe vast experience in blended operations, special collection and a solid grounding in STO.
It’s also important to understand the role of BAE itself in U.S. intelligence. I wrote quite a bit about the company’s contracts with the CIA and other agencies in my book Spies for Hire, and here’s an excerpt that was first published in CorpWatch in 2007. Note especially BAE’s extensive work for the CIA, with which Blackwater/Xe is closely identified:
BAE’s services to U.S. intelligence — including the CIA and the National Counter-Terrorism Center — are provided through a special unit called the Global Analysis Business Unit. It is located in McLean, Virginia, a stone’s throw from the CIA. The unit is headed by John Gannon, a 25-year veteran of the CIA who reached the agency’s highest analytical ranks as deputy director of intelligence and chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Today, as a private sector contractor for the intelligence community, Gannon manages a staff of more than 800 analysts with security clearances.