Defense Secretary Gates will review allegations of misconduct in Afghanistan levied against the company formally known as Blackwater during its training of an Afghan police force. “The review comes a day after a leading Democrat said the Pentagon should consider barring it from applying for a contract to train Afghan police. The Pentagon said it could not bar the company from applying for the billion-dollar police training contract. A spokesman for company, now called Xe, said it welcomed the review. A spokesman for the company, Mark Corallo, said Xe has an excellent record of training security personnel in Afghanistan.
However, in a letter to Mr Gates at the end of February, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin cited allegations of misconduct against the firm made before the committee. He said there was evidence of misconduct in a previous subcontract awarded to a Blackwater affiliate to conduct weapons training for the Afghan National Army. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said of Mr Gates’ response: ‘He is looking into it and he takes it seriously. He shares [Mr Levin’s] concerns.’ But he said it was not possible to bar the company without following strict regulations. ‘You can’t willy-nilly choose not to do business with a company,’ he said. ‘There are strict criteria for pursuing debarment. They are afforded due process. They are afforded legal standards.'”