Blackwater, #CIA and Enrique Prado

Blackwater is most notorious for its Nisour Square Massacre in 2007. Seventeen innocent civilians died when Blackwater hires opened fire in a busy market square. The hit team was later acquitted..

The coordinator of Blackwater’s covert CIA business is former CIA paramilitary officer Enrique Prado.

He allegedly set up a global network of foreign operatives, offering their “deniability” as a “big plus” for potential Blackwater customers. Did the CIA use proxy forces to carry out extralegal actions or to shield US government involvement in unsavory operations from scrutiny?

Did Prado and Blackwater CEO Prince build up a network of such foreigners while Blackwater was at the center of the CIA’s assassination program, beginning in 2004?

New York Times and Washington Post report that in 2004, the CIA hired outside contractors from Blackwater USA, a private security firm, to take part in a secret program to find and kill top al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere. Both stories highlight the fact that a program to assassinate or capture al-Qaeda leaders that began around September 2001 was terminated and then revived and outsourced to Blackwater in 2004. CIA Director Leon Panetta alerted Congress to the secret program in June 2009.

Prado and Prince trained special missions units at one of Prince’s properties in Virginia with the intent of hunting terrorism suspects globally, often working with foreign operatives. A former senior CIA official said the benefit of using Blackwater’s foreign operatives in CIA operations was that “you wouldn’t want to have American fingerprints on it.”

Harper’s magazine columnist Ken Silverstein, the private miltiary corporation Blackwater mades an “aggressive” attempt to recruit Jose Rodriguez, director of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service. Other CIA officers currently at Blackwater at this time included Enrique Prado, with whom Rodriguez served in Latin America and who is currently Blackwater’s vice president of special programs, and Cofer Black, the company’s vice chairman, who, like Rodriguez, had been chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center. [HARPER’S, 9/12/2006]

Blackwater often performed tasks with which official US agencies do not want to be publicly associated for foreign policy or legal reasons. “We were building a unilateral unattributable capability. If it went bad, we weren’t expecting the chief of station, the ambassador, or anyone to bail us out,” Prince told Vanity Fair.

Back to Prado

Enrique Prado’s resume: veteran of the Central American wars, running the CIA’s operations in Korea, a top spy in America’s espionage programs against China, and deputy to counter-terrorist chief Cofer Black .

Was Prado to have started out a career as a hitman for a notorious Miami mobster, and kept working for the mob even after joining the CIA? Author Evan Wright starts with Enrique Prado and Albert San Pedro met around 1966 at Miami Springs High School.

This premise is the basis of the Wright book, but this is a critical fact that cannot be confirmed.  So Prado allegations of being a Miami hitman could be true, but nothing supports the allegation so it is a rumor only.

In 1998, the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania elevated Prado to become the chief of operations inside the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center, headed by then-chief Cofer Black, later an executive for Blackwater. The  CTC job made Prado responsible for all the moving pieces at the CTC — supervising field offices on surveillance, rendition, or other missions, and making sure that logistics were in order, that personnel were in place.

Prado also popped up two years ago in a report by Jeremy Scahill of The Nation, in which the now ex-CIA Prado was discovered to have built up a network of foreign shell companies to hide Blackwater operations, beginning in 2004.

Who is Alberto San Pedro?

Alberto San Pedro had lots of powerful friends in important places — from Hialeah City Hall to the governor`s mansion to the Capitol in Washington. Caught by hidden police microphones bragging about bribing politicians, He was found guilty by a jury of only seven of 39 charges levied against him. He was convicted on several counts of drug trafficking and offering bribes.

In June 1989, Alberto San Pedro struck a deal with federal agents to avoid what would likely have been life in prison for smuggling cocaine. The deal was this: The government would release him from a state prison sentence he was about to complete, then he would go undercover to snag the mayor and a commissioner of Hialeah, Fla., who were involved in an influence-peddling scam. In return, he would be granted immunity from the new drug trafficking charges and any other crimes committed to date, and freed from prison.

San Pedro hosted parties for the city’s elite, lost a testicle in a drive-by shooting outside of his house, rebuilt his house into a fortress, tortured guard dogs for sport, and imported tens of millions of dollars’ worth of cocaine into the United States per year.

Investigators from the Miami-Dade Police Department’s organized crime squad suspected him of participating in at least seven murders and one attempted murder. He attempted to join the CIA, but returned to Miami after not completing the background check (due to his apparent concern over his family ties). But was admitted after the Reagan administration opened up a covert offensive against leftist Central American militants, where he reportedly served training the Contras.

 

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