I don't know about you, but for me, nothing screams ethics like the names of President George W. Bush's former attorneys general. (Cue: crickets chirping.)
No? Well in that case, you may be surprised to learn that Bush's first attorney general, John Ashcroft, is heading a new ethics committee for Xe Services, nee Blackwater.
According to a statement released this morning by the consortium restructuring Blackwater, Ashcroft will head the committee recently created to "maximize governance, compliance and accountability," and hold the company to "the highest degrees of ethics and professionalism within the private security industry."
As Spencer Ackerman observes, that might just mean "no more shooting civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan; no more signing for weapons its guards aren’t authorized to carry in warzones; no more impersonations of cartoon characters to acquire said weaponry; and no more ‘roids and coke on the job." Charges against former Blackwater employees for the 2007 deaths of 14 Iraqi citizens were recently reinstated by a federal appeals court.
In addition to ushering in President Bush's "War on Terror" and the Patriot Act, Ashcroft's deep ties to D.C. include having served one term as a senator from Missouri. He was then appointed attorney general after losing his Senate seat to the recently deceased Gov. Mel Carnahan. After leaving the Bush administration, Ashcroft launched a booming lobbying firm, working largely for corporations pushing goods and services related to defense and homeland security.
Ashcroft's lobbying success cannot be overlooked as Blackwater, er uh, Xe Services continues pursuing government contracts. In today's statement, the company underscored its ongoing work with the Departments of State and Defense, as well as the U.S. Navy and law enforcement agencies. The statement also bragged about Xe's "unmatched track record of exceptional performance." Let us hope that their performance has indeed been the exception and not the rule for mercenaries in the "War on Terror."