Schakowsky claims intimidation by ex-Blackwater head

November 30, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The congresswoman is Jan Schakowsky from Chicago's North Shore.

Representative Schakowsky made the intimidation claim Wednesday afternoon on the floor of the U.S. Congress, saying that Blackwater and its founder are trying to shut her up and stop her from criticizing the private security industry that has put boots on the ground around the world backing up America's regular military.

"I believe that increased reliance on hired guns to provide security in conflict zones undermines our policy objectives, and I'm not alone," Schakowsky said.

Congresswoman Schakowsky, Wednesday afternoon on the floor of the House, went after one of her favorite targets, the multi-billion dollar private security industry, and one ex-contractor in particular.

"There is one company that has become synonymous with misconduct: Blackwater," said Schakowsky.

"Last month a letter from his attorney was hand delivered to my congressional office," Schakowsky said. "It accuses me of defamatory statements, characterizes my efforts to urge investigations into Mr. Prince as a violation of congressional power, and describes possible legal action if I persist."

In a letter to Schakowsky obtained by the I-Team, Blackwater's attorney calls her comments derogatory, says that she abused her congressional power to request that Prince be investigated and that she showed a reckless disregard for truth.

The letter takes issue with an interview Schakowsky gave to Guy Adams, a reporter for the London-based newspaper The Independent, in September in which Schakowsky allegedly said that Prince had emigrated to the United Arab Emirates and that if he hadn't "he too would now be facing prosecution."

Though before its dissolution Blackwater suffered a string of high-profile scandals -- from high level indictments over allegations of illegal weapon exports to employees accused of outright murder -- Prince was never personally charged with a crime. A civil suit against Prince concerning government billing was dismissed in June.

The letter also criticizes Schakowsky for allegedly saying Prince emigrated to the United Arab Emirates. Though the New York Times reported in August 2010 Prince had moved to Abu Dubai, Corallo said Prince remains a U.S. citizen, keeps several homes in the U.S. and was in country only a couple weeks ago. Prince went to the UAE that August -- in the midst of the legal action against many high-level Blackwater officials -- for business, Corallo said.

Schakowsky tells ABC News that she was misquoted in that London newspaper article that seems to have started the whole thing.

A spokesperson for Eric Prince says the so-called threatening letter was only intended to stop Congresswoman Schakowsky from making false allegations of criminality against a U.S. citizen and that Schakowsky should brush up on what he called "her kindergarten-level reading skills."

In an apparent re-imaging attempt, Blackwater changed its name to Xe Services in 2009. Prince has since been reportedly linked to other private security groups working in the Middle East and Africa.

Schakowsky full remarks on House floor:

Copyright © 2024 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.