Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, a controversial and polarizing figure from the Bush-era, will lead the U.S. private security firm Xe Services, Inc. in determining its ethics policies going forward, according to report by Spencer Ackerman of Wired Magazine.
XE Services is better known by its original name: Blackwater Worldwide. They changed it after several of its private contractors serving with the U.S. military in Iraq massacred a group of 17 civilians in 2007, in an incident that remains under judicial scrutiny.
Ashcroft, however, does not come into the job without his own controversies. As a frequent target of Democratic activists, he suffered politically for his unwaivering advocacy of growing the government’s security apparatus. He’s also long been chided for suggesting that political dissent against his president was akin to disloyalty.
In the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, Ashcroft has joined in the vocal defense of what many call torture techniques employed by U.S. intelligence services during the Bush-era — techniques that Obama administration officials have insisted were not used in finding the terrorist leader.
Although Blackwater no longer exists and Xe Services is under new ownership — having been out of Iraq under orders by the Iraqi and U.S. governments — it merely split into about 30 different shell companies, some of which still operate in the country today.
The selection of Ashcroft to lead Xe’s “subcommittee on governance” was first reported by Wired Magazine‘s Spencer Ackerman, who saw it as a sign that the firm has no intent to walk away from the government contracting business.