Former Bush Admin. Lawyer Will Keep Tabs On Blackwater

This woman, Wendy Wysong, is now responsible for making sure that Blackwater doesn’t continue to illegally export weapons, under a $42 million settlement agreement between the infamous mercenary company and the US State Department.

Wysong is a partner at a top-flight Washington, DC law firm, and an export in arms trade regulations. She also happened to be the US Commerce Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement for several years when Blackwater happened to be—that’s right—illegally exporting weapons.




Between February 2007 and July 2009, the State Department received 31 export disclosures from Blackwater, 15 of which were voluntary, according to a document filed with the settlement. “[T]hese disclosures outlined hundreds of violations of the ITAR” arms export regulations.

These disclosures revealed that until the latter part of the investigation [Blackwater] demonstrated a signficant lack of commitment to comply with the ITAR… [Blackwater] began substantive compliance initiatives in late 2007, approximately 18 months after the [State] Department initiated its review…

Here is a brief selection from the lengthy list of Blackwater’s arms export violations (pdf):

Providing security training to the Government of Southern Sudan, a “proscribed country” under ITAR

Unauthorized “Taiwanese Sniper Training”

“Providing [Unauthorized] Defense Services to Niger”

“Unauthorized disclosures” to foreign employees from Canada, India, the UK and Sweden

“Unaccounted Weapons in Iraq”

“Violating Provisos of Licenses involving Firearms”

And this tidbit, as good as any Wikileaks cable:

In March 2005, [Blackwater] gave to the King of Jordan without authorization three Glock pistols, one Bushmaster Carbine, and one Remington Shotgun while the King was visiting [Blackwater’s] facility in Moyock, North Carolina.

All these violations, and more, occurred under Wysong’s watch.

Blackwater—not the government—chose Wysong as an outside compliance officer. However, her appointment was subject to State Department approval, according to her firm’s annoucement.

In her capacity as a Bush administration regulator, Wyson offered lighter punishments for “voluntary self disclosure” by “any party who believes they may have violated” export rules (pdf). In its arms smuggling State Department, the State Department Directorate of Defense Trade Controls recognized Blackwater’s “voluntary disclosures, its leadership reorganization…and the lack of actual harm to national security.”