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Touring Blackwater Compound With Company CEO

Associated Press Follow
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  • 15 years ago
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PlusTouring Blackwater Compound With Company CEOTouring Blackwater Compound With Company CEOThe Associated PressThe Associated Press was granted rare, on-camera access to Blackwater Worldwide's North Carolina compound. AP correspondent Jason Bronis toured the property with CEO Eric Prince. (July 27)((TRACK))((SUPER: MOYOCK, N.C.)) ((VO of Prince leading tour.)) WE'RE TOURING BLACKWATER WORLDWIDE'S NORTH CAROLINA COMPOUND.OUR GUIDE IS 39-YEAR-OLD C-E-O ERIC PRINCE.((NATS))((NO SUPER))'We'll go to medical. That's down here.'((TRACK)) ((VO of Prince leading tour.)) WE HAVE TO HUSTLE TO KEEP UP,WHETHER ON FOOT OR BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A COMPANY S-U-V, PRINCE COVERS THE COMPOUND'S MAJOR LANDMARKS - AND THE STORY OF THE COMPANY'S GROWTH - IN RAPID-FIRE SUCCESSION.((SOT))((NO SUPER))'Look at that. A bear. That was not staged.'((TRACK)) ((VO of blackwater sign, man holding hand in front of camera lens.)) THE COMPANY GRANTED A TEAM OF A-P JOURNALISTS RARE, ON-CAMERA ACCESS TO THEIR PROPERTY.THERE *WERE* GROUND RULES - QUESTIONS THEY DIDN'T WANT US TO ASK - PLACES THEY WOULDN'T LET US FILM.((NATS))'Shut the camera off a minute.'((TRACK)) ((VO of Prince leading tour.)) PRINCE SAYS HE'S TRYING TO PROTECT THE PRIVACY OF HIS CLIENTS.AND WE QUICKLY LEARN THERE ARE THINGS HERE HE JUST DOESN'T WANT OUR CAMERAS TO SEE.((NATS))'The other end of this building is an armory, which we won't go in. Sorry. If we turn the cameras off, I'll show it to you.'((TRACK)) ((VO of Prince leading tour.)) BUT, PRINCE WOULDN'T OPEN THE DOORS OF HIS COMPANY TO THE PRYING EYES OF THE MEDIA WITHOUT A MOTIVE.HE'S OUT TO CHANGE PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF THE COMPANY HE LAUNCHED A DECADE AGO.PERCEPTION THAT PEGS ANY NEGATIVE NEWS ABOUT WARZONE CONTRACTORS ON BLACKWATER.((SOT))((SUPER: Eric Prince/CEO, Blackwater Worldwide))'There's 1-hundred-70-some companies doing security work. It got to the point that any American in an SUV that was a security guy is a Blackwater guy, and that's just not the case.' // 'We didn't start this place to be in the security world. We started this to train Americans that go into harms way.'((NATS))Gunfire.((TRACK)) ((VO of man demonstrating rifle use.)) ON THIS DAY, MUCH OF THE ACTIVITY TAKES PLACE ON THE COMPANY'S MULTIPLE FIREARMS TRAINING RANGES.THE STUDENTS INCLUDE MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY AND DELEGATIONS FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES AROUND THE WORLD.SERGEANT DAVID ADERHOLD COMMANDS THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE SWAT TEAM IN DEKALB COUNTY, GEORGIA.((SOT))((SUPER: Sgt. David Aderhold/Blackwater Trainee))'All the instructors we know are the most professional that we are. It's never been in our mind to try to send someone anywhere else besides Blackwater.'((TRACK)) ((VO of compound.)) AS FOR THEIR OVERSEAS OPERATIONS, EXECUTIVES INSIST THE COMPANY IS SUPPORTING THE U-S GOVERNMENT, DOING JOBS THE MILITARY CAN'T DO AND SAVING TAXPAYERS MONEY IN THE PROCESS.((SOT))((Prince))'The military can't be all things to all people all of the time. They're always going to have some things the private sector can help in.'((TRACK)) ((VO of park.)) OUR LAST VISIT IS TO WHAT THE COMPANY CALLS 'MEMORIAL PARK.'IT STANDS IN TRIBUTE TO MORE THAN TWO DOZEN BLACKWATER EMPLOYEES LOST IN THE LINE OF DUTY.SACRFICES MADE FOR A COMPANY PRINCE SAYS HE WANTS TO BE 'PART OF THE SOLUTION.'BUT CAN HE PUT A POSITIVE SPIN ON A NAME THAT SO MANY ASSOCIATE WITH WHAT WENT WRONG IN IRAQ?JB, THE A-P, MOYOCK, NORTH CAROLINA. ___ ___, The Associated Press.
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