Blackwater founder Erik Prince wants America's Afghanistan strategy outsourced

While Trump's domestic policy is being outsourced to lobbyists, Blackwater may take control of the Afghanistan war

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 11, 2017 11:01AM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Donald Trump may have promised to drain the swamp, but that hasn't stopped him from appointing officials with conflicts of interest to positions of influence.

One of his new proposals for the war in Afghanistan, which involves hiring contractors instead of using federal troops, was developed by Blackwater Worldwide founder Erik Prince and Stephen Feinberg, who owns the military contractor DynCorp International, according to a report by The New York Times.

The strategy, which is being pushed by chief strategist Steve Bannon and senior adviser Jared Kushner, has not seemed to take off with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, but it nevertheless demonstrates another potential conflict of interest with the people developing Trump's policies.

On the domestic policy front, at least 28 of Trump's appointees for deregulatory positions have potential conflicts of interest, according to a report by The New York Times. These include Scott Cameron at the Department of the Interior, who is a member of its deregulatory team and had a meeting with a pesticide company lobbyist whose company had partnered with his nonprofit group; Samantha Dravis, who is chairwoman of the Environmental Protection Agency's deregulatory team despite once serving as president of an organization that helped energy companies join Republican attorneys general to sue the government; Rebeckah Adcock, who used to lobby the Department of Agriculture on behalf of a trade association for pesticide makers before being hired to its deregulatory team; and Brian McCormack, who is a part of the Department of Energy's deregulatory team despite his previous job dealing with political and external affairs for a trade association involved in investor-owned electrical utilities.


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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