Blackwater Missile Contract Ended

CIA Director Leon Panetta has canceled a secret contract with the former Blackwater security firm that had allowed the company's employees to load missiles on Predator drones in Pakistan.

A person familiar with the contract says Panetta canceled the contract earlier this year and the work is being transferred to government workers. The person spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the classified program.

A spokesman for the company now known as Xe Services was not immediately available for comment. The New York Times first reported the contract's existence in August.

The CIA's Predator program targets senior al-Qaida and Taliban in Pakistan's tribal area along the border with Afghanistan, but the agency has never confirmed its role in the operation.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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