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C.I.A. Sought Blackwater’s Help in Plan to Kill Jihadists
The Central Intelligence Agency in 2004 hired outside contractors from the private security contractor Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda, according to current and former government officials. Leon E. Panetta, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, canceled a program to locate and kill the leaders of Al Qaeda.
The C.I.A. spent several million dollars on the program, which did not successfully capture or kill any terrorist suspects. The fact that the C.I.A. used an outside company for the program was a major reason that Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A.’s director, became alarmed and called an emergency meeting in June to tell Congress that the agency had withheld details of the program for seven years, the officials said.