Monday, Feb. 08, 2010

Blackwater Becomes Xe

In February 2009, private-security firm Blackwater announced that it would be changing its name to Xe (pronounced Zee) in an attempt to escape the dark cloud it had been under since five of its guards were indicted on charges related to a 2007 shooting that left 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians dead.

Unfortunately for Blackwater/Xe, the name has yet to make any difference. The U.S. State Department did not renew Blackwater's contract when it expired in May 2009, and it seems confusion over the new name — what Xe stands for and how to pronounce it — has left the makeover floundering in its early stages. To add insult to injury, the company's founder, ex–Navy Seal Erik Prince, was implicated in murder Aug. 4 when it was leaked that two former employees gave sworn statements alleging that he may have eliminated individuals who were cooperating with a federal investigation of the company.