Last spring, the U.S. diplomatic mission in Iraq got a makeover, replacing the scandal-plagued Blackwater private security company with a firm named Triple Canopy. The new $1 billion contract cemented Triple Canopy’s status as the pre-eminent provider of private security services in Iraq, with its heavily armed employees appearing side by side with senior State Department diplomats.
But the company’s rise to prominence followed a long, often chaotic route, marked by questionable weapons deals, government bungling and a criminal investigation that was ultimately closed without charges being filed, according to newly released investigative files. Company employees told federal investigators that Triple Canopy swapped booze for weapons and supplies from the U.S. military. They said the company bought guns and other arms on the black market in Iraq. Some worried that the money was flowing into the hands of insurgents, records show.