Private Security Guards and the War in Iraq
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On Capitol Hill today, Blackwater USA got a grilling about its private security guards. Are they highly-paid mercenaries out of control or skilled professionals taking on risky assignments so Marines and soldiers can focus on combat? Also, a historic meeting in North Korea and, on Reporter's Notebook, Israel has officially conceded midnight raid last month on Syrian territory.
Erik Prince, chairman of the Prince Group, LLC and Blackwater USA, testifies during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill.
Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Korean Leaders Meet in Historic Summit ()
For the second time in the past 50 years, the leaders of North and South Korea met today in Pyongyang. Kim Jong Il was subdued, but South Korea's Roh Moo-hyun waved to cheering crowds in North Korea's capital city. Don Oberdorfer, a former diplomatic correspondent for the Washington Post, is Chair of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
- Don Oberdorfer: Chairman of the US-Korea Institute
Private Security Guards and the War in Iraq ()
Blackwater USA—with more than a billion dollars in federal contracts—was on the carpet today on Capitol Hill. Congressional investigators claim that Blackwater guards shot first in almost 200 shootouts and killed innocent Iraqis in incidents the State Department helped cover up. Company founder Erik Prince, a former Navy Seal who has rarely been heard from in public, today told the committee that the shooting was always defensive, that 30 of its men have been killed and that that none of the VIP's under guard has ever been lost. Are they skilled professionals who free up Marines and soldiers or rogue mercenaries who interfere with America's goals in Iraq?
- Warren Strobel: Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers
- Robert Scales: President of the Colgen Corporation
- Stephen Schooner: former Administrator for the OMB's Office of Procurement Law
- Robert Young Pelton: Author of 'Licensed to Kill'
Israel Admits Bombing Syrian Military Target ()
Both Israel and Syria officially conceded today what everyone already knew. In a midnight raid last month, Israeli planes struck deep inside Syrian territory. What were they after and what did they hit? Gideon Lichfield, correspondent for the Economist magazine in Jerusalem, has more on a mission still shrouded in secrecy.
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