Update on the DEA Agent in the Blackwater Shirt

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Some nice follow-up work here.

Short answer: The DEA says the man in the photo is indeed a DEA agent, and not a Blackwater employee They say they asked the L.A. Times to blur his face because he sometimes works undercover. The Times doesn’t alter photos, so they just pulled down the picture, instead. Lingering questions include why a DEA agent was advertising for Blackwater during a high-profile drug raid on a med-mal clinic, and why an undercover officer would participate in such a high-profile raid, and then expose himself in public like that in the first place. Surely they knew there would be cameras there.

Make of all this what you will.

Here’s an assignment: Someone with more time than I have at the moment should file a FOIA to see exactly what sorts of drug interdiction contracts Blackwater actually has with the federal government. I know they’re doing quite a bit overseas. It would be interesting to see what they’re doing domestically.

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15 Responses to “Update on the DEA Agent in the Blackwater Shirt”

  1. #1 |  Bill Cooke | 

    Post his picture again.

  2. #2 |  Phelps | 

    I’m guessing that the shirt was a freebie along with some Blackwater training (they do a lot of handgun and rifle training) and incompetence explains the rest. There’s no lack of incompetence in the DEA or any other government agency.

  3. #3 |  SusanK | 

    Who alerts the media to these raids? Definitely not the marijuana dispensary hoping to attract new patients. That leaves law enforcement. Probably not local law enforcement, because most of them know the locals would vote out a sheriff who gets his big brother (the feds) to beat them up when nanny (state) is protecting them. That leaves the DEA, who likes to trumpet this as winning the war on drugs, blah, blah, blah.
    Does the DEA seriously think that we are stupid enough to think that they are stupid enough to have an undercover agent in a raid where they called the media? My head hurts.

  4. #4 |  BobO | 

    Wouldn’t you think a professional would at least dress like one? It isn’t necessary to wear a Class A dress uniform in a raid but how about a t-shirt or polo shirt with his own agency’s name on it? Why take any risk with mistaken identity.

  5. #5 |  parse | 

    If the agent in question had a reason to fear for his safety if exposed as an undercover operative, the DEA hasn’t done him any favors.

    Before they spoke up, we had a picture of a DEA agent on a raid posted at the LA Times website. Now, we have a picture of a person the DEA has explicitly identified as an undercover officer, no longer posted at the LA Times website but still available on the web for anyone who might want to look, now that the DEA has announced there’s a picture of one of their undercovers out there.

  6. #6 |  Scott | 

    There’s no reason to believe that LE activities aren’t contracted out. We have contractors filling all kinds of roles all over the world that, arguably, should be filled only by gub’mint employees for purposes of oversight, etc. Things like intel analysis, etc.

    I’m not leaning either way on this but there’s nothing that would stop a Blackwater employee from fulfilling an *ahem* “advisory” role in a DEA raid, at least from an institutional standpoint. Hell, even if the guy is a p/t Blackwater employee it would have to have been vetted by his superiors and you’d think they just might have some policy in place regarding wearing that kind of stuff on a raid.

  7. #7 |  nemo | 

    That DEA Agent may well find his face on the Who’s A Rat website before too long…

  8. #8 |  akromper | 

    The first thought I had was BS. No info on the guy but he’s “undercover” sometimes. Start by proving he works for the DEA. Also, short of it already being out of the bag, it’s amazing this wasn’t accompanied by an abuse article, camera’s smashed, newsrooms raided for unapproved photo’s and maybe picking up a photographer or two for questioning for a few hours of intimidation. Magnanamous to just request the picture be altered wasn’t it.

  9. #9 |  Normal Person | 

    Normal Americans do not have a strong opinion about Blackwater. It’s just guys who do bodyguard work in Iraq and train cops and soldiers and civilians how to gunfight here at home. Nothing sinister. Most Americans support the drug war. Most Americas, even those of us ambivalent about Iraq, don’t root for the bad guys, nor look at our own people and our own contractors as bad guys. Have Blackwater guys ever made mistakes? Of course. Have they mostly done a good job of protecting the good guys and blowing away the terrorists? That too.

    They are not bad. They do not have a bad reputation other than among fringe groups: Truther, the 1% of Americans who vote libertarians, pacifists, etc.

    Get a grip. Blackwater is not bad. It’s not bad to wear that shirt after getting training there. Finally, DEA folks wear body armor on raids. Body armor is hot and it’s pretty normal to take it off afterwards.

  10. #10 |  Andrew Williams | 

    About 40 years ago the LA Free Press (aka Freep) got ahold of a list of narcotics officers (undercover and not) in the LA area. They published it.

    Maybe it’s time for that to happen again.

  11. #11 |  Howlin' Hobbit | 

    The 1% that vote libertarian?

    You’re not paying attention there “Normal Person.”

  12. #12 |  herbber | 

    PLEASE PLEASE post it again. I want to send it to my congressman. He assured in a letter he wrote me, that Blackwater was on the up and up.

  13. #13 |  anonymous | 



  14. #14 |  Mr G G | 

    The photo was not removed. It is still on the server. Here http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2008-07/41360065.jpg

  15. #15 |  David | 

    Its a t-shirt, relax!! People read way too much into things. Amazing!!