Erik Prince is not the kind of man one expects to make the case for slashing U.S. intelligence and military budgets. After 9-11, his company, Blackwater, expanded exponentially, winning contracts to protect diplomats and politicians in Iraq and to train and work with CIA paramilitary teams hunting terrorists.
In an interview Monday, Prince said the national security state he once served has grown too large.
“America is way too quick to trade freedom for the illusion of security,” he told The Daily Beast. “Whether it’s allowing the NSA to go way too far in what it intercepts of our personal data, to our government monitoring of everything domestically and spending way more than we should. I don’t know if I want to live in a country where lone wolf and random terror attacks are impossible ‘cause that country would look more like North Korea than America.”
Today Prince is out of the contracting business and is promoting a book telling his side of the Blackwater story. To be sure, he accuses Democrats of abusing state power to wage a political war on him and the media of aiding and abetting that campaign.
Prince’s new book, Civilian Warriors, recounts in detail the battles Prince waged in the last decade over his company. He writes, for example, about a conversation at one point with his accountant, who claimed an IRS auditor told him that he was never under such pressure to get someone as he was in the case of Prince. He takes shots at the left-wing lawyers who brought civil suits related to the incident at Nisour Square, a traffic circle in Baghdad where Blackwater contractors killed 11 Iraqis. Prince says the evidence shows the incident was a firefight and not, as his critics alleged at the time, a massacre of an unarmed crowd. And he complains that the media coverage of Blackwater was biased and often wrong.
But despite attacking Blackwater’s many critics in the book, Prince also sounds a bit like them when discussing what he considers President Obama’s counterterrorism policies.
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