Blackwater founder is writing a memoir

Erik Prince has, previously, both created a video game and shopped a movie based on the private military contractor

By Jillian Rayfield
Published July 10, 2013 4:26PM (EDT)
Blackwater USA founder Erik Prince      (AP/Susan Walsh)
Blackwater USA founder Erik Prince (AP/Susan Walsh)

Erik Prince, the founder and former CEO of the private military contractor Blackwater, is writing a memoir in an attempt to rehabilitate the company's image, which he says has been "tarnished by the unfair and/or ignorant depiction of PMCs as profiteers, 'jackbooted thugs,' or worse."

Prince, a former Navy SEAL, has struck a deal with an imprint of Penguin Random House called Portfolio, the Associated Press reports, with a release date likely in November.

"Hundreds of American citizens employed by private military contractors, or PMCs, would lose their lives helping our government wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, only to have their memory tarnished by the unfair and/or ignorant depiction of PMCs as profiteers, 'jackbooted thugs,' or worse by the media and the political establishment that asked for our help in the first place," Prince said in a statement. "It's partly to honor their memory that I've written this book."

Blackwater, which changed its name to Xe, before changing its name to Academi, received more than $1 billion in federal military contracts in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The company became infamous after four former employees were charged with allegedly opening fire in Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, killing 17 Iraqi civilians. Though a District Court judge dismissed the case in December 2009, an Appeals Court panel ordered the judge to review the case in 2011.

And, as the New York Times reported, the company's court battles didn't end there:

Among other troubles, five former Blackwater executives, including the company’s onetime president, were indicted on federal weapons and obstruction charges, two other former guards were charged with murder in connection with a shooting in Afghanistan, and the Justice Department opened an inquiry into whether Blackwater sought to bribe Iraqi officials in order to keep doing business in Iraq after the Nisour Square shooting.

Prince, who stepped down as CEO in 2009 and was bought out of the company by investors in 2010, was reportedly at one point shopping around movie ideas based on the company, and teamed up with a video game developer to create a first-person shooter called "Blackwater."

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Afghanistan Blackwater Defense Contractor Erik Prince Iraq War Private Security Xe