Blackwater gets replaced in Iraq

ABC News' Kirit Radia reports:

The controversial private security firm Blackwater's contracts in Iraq have been replaced by Virginia-based Triple Canopy, the State Department said today.

"[On] March the 31st the department awarded Triple Canopy the ground task order for protective security details in Baghdad after a thorough evaluation of proposals from each company that had submitted bids," State Department acting deputy spokesman Gordon Duguid said.

Duguid said the transition process will begin immediately and Blackwater, now rebranded as Xe (pronounced "Zee"), will leave Iraq once its contract expires in May. He could not provide the value and length of Triple Canopy's contract.

Earlier this year the Iraqi government expelled Blackwater in large part due to controversy surrounding the deadly September 2007 shooting in a crowded Baghdad traffic circle during which Blackwater guards allegedly killed several Iraqi civilians. Following the Iraqi decision to expel Blackwater, the State Department said it would not renew their contract.

Triple Canopy and a third Company, Dyncorp, have been providing similar security in Iraq, mainly in the north and south, for years while Blackwater mainly held contracts in Baghdad.

No replacement has yet been named for air assets including helicopters that Blackwater provided through its subsidiary Presidential Airways. Xe has been notified by the State Department that this contract will not be renewed given the Iraqi government's decision, Duguid said.

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