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The CIA has hired private security firm Xe Services, the company once known as Blackwater Worldwide, to guard its facilities across the globe, officials said.

An industry source said the contract, worth about $100 million, includes security services in Afghanistan and in “multiple regions,” The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The previously undisclosed contract came to light as members of a federal commission investigating war-zone contractors chastised the State Department for awarding Xe a $120 million contract to guard U.S. consulates under construction in Afghanistan, the Post said.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano, while not confirming the contract, said Xe personnel would not be involved in operations.

“While this agency does not, as a rule, comment on contractual relationships we may or may not have, we follow all applicable federal laws and regulations,” Gimigliano said. “We have a very careful process when it comes to procurement, and we take it seriously. We’ve also made it clear that personnel from Xe do not serve with the CIA in any operational roles.”

As Blackwater, the Moyock, N.C., company has been under scrutiny since a September 2007 incident in Baghdad when its guards opened fire in a city square, allegedly killing 17 unarmed civilians and wounding 24. It has been fending off prosecution and lawsuits since.

“Blackwater has undergone some serious changes,” a U.S. official familiar with the deal told the Post. “They’ve had to prove to the government that they’re a responsible outfit. Having satisfied every legal requirement, they have the right to compete for contracts.”

Source: UPI

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