Home / Badge Abuse / Blackwater-Linked Private Military Firm Exposed Coordinating Intel for Police at Standing Rock

Blackwater-Linked Private Military Firm Exposed Coordinating Intel for Police at Standing Rock

In an interview with Democracy Now, award-winning national security journalist Jeremy Scahill revealed stunning connections between a private security firm called TigerSwan, operated by a former Delta Force operative, and law enforcement intelligence operations at Standing Rock.

Co-founder of the Intercept, Scahill, has spent years reporting on private security contractors such as the private security firm TigerSwan. In these most recent revelations, Scahill exposes how TigerSwan has links to the now-defunct mercenary firm Blackwater and is in charge of coordinating intelligence for the Dakota Access pipeline company.

As the interview was wrapping up, Democracy Now host Juan Gonzalez questioned Scahill as to whether he had found any connections between the Morton County Sheriff’s Office and private security firms.


“I think we have about a minute left, but, Jeremy, I wanted to ask you, in terms of the—you reached out to the Morton County Sheriff’s Office to try to get some information on the private security firms. What happened?”


“Well, the Morton County sheriffs, they released documents, internal documents, about their investigation into the dog handlers. And what they inadvertently revealed was that this company, TigerSwan, run by these Delta Force guys, was actually in charge of coordinating the intelligence operations against the protesters.

One word of advice to all the protesters there: Do not believe that your cellphones or your computers are clean and uncompromised. I guarantee you that they’re using the entire suite of surveillance devices. I know that people have been complaining that their cellphones have been down, their internet has been down. That can be caused by surveillance weaponry targeting their devices. It could be because there are so many people using them. But my guess would be that they are using people’s devices, meaning law enforcement and private security, as geo-tracking devices. And people should be very aware that the full CIA/NSA-developed suite of tools that now have made it into the hands of local law enforcement in this country are most certainly trained on those activists and their supporters.”

Scahill further elaborated on this stunning revelation by noting that,

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“TigerSwan, was founded by a Delta Force operative named James Reese and has done voluminous amounts of covert and overt work for the U.S. military in Iraq, in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. And, you know, you realize that you have this convergence of all that has been so wrong in the post-9/11 world, with these big environment-destroying companies, the stripping even further of indigenous rights, private security forces, the brutality against protesters, the paramilitarization of law enforcement.”

The reality that tech originally developed for military use in hunting global terror suspects is now being used against peaceful protestors here in the United States should send a shiver down your spine. The fact that this technology is being used in Standing Rock reveals the truly insidious nature of a creeping police state that combines weapons of war with domestic policing to the detriment of free expression and dissent.

It is important to note that private security forces are not necessarily the problem as they are far easier to hold accountable than government agencies like police. However, what Scahill describes in the situation above is anything but private. It is a non-governmental agency melding forces with government — the de facto definition of corporatism.

  • Atlanta Bill

    The article should have mentioned, when it made that insightful remark about corporatism at the end, that, according to Mussolini (the founder of fascism), ‘corporatism’ is the appropriate term for fascism once it’s seized state power. We haven’t seen extrajudicial paramilitaries in the street (before this), but that’s the form that fascism took almost 100 years ago.

    • TecumsehUnfaced

      I essentially agree with you, but isn’t extrajudicial paramilitaries what our police are becoming?

      • Atlanta Bill

        The classical fascist organizations such as Mussolini’s Black Shirts (Camicie Nere) and Hitler’s Brown Shirts (Sturmabteilung, SA) prior to the coming to power of those two fascist tyrants acted without the cover of legality. The state ordinarily depends on its monopoly of legal violence to defend class rule, and those of the class it defends find it necessary to go beyond legality and fund illegal paramilitaries only when the oppressed class is standing up and defending itself to an extent that its legal bodies of armed men can’t deal with. By the way, the U.S. had its “Silver Shirts” in the 1930s, who used to be allowed into General Motors plants by management to beat up troublesome workers.

        • TecumsehUnfaced

          Thanks! Silver Shirts? That’s a group I wasn’t aware of.

          A white-supremacist, antisemitic group[2] modeled after Hitler’s Brownshirts, the paramilitary Silver Legion wore a silver shirt with a tie along with a campaign hat and blue corduroy trousers with leggings. The uniform shirts bore a scarlet letter L over the heart: an emblem meant to symbolize Loyalty to the United States, Liberation from materialism, and the Silver Legion itself. The blocky slab serif L-emblem was in a typeface similar to the present-day Rockwell Extra Bold. The organizational flag was a plain silver field with such a red L in the canton at the upper left.

          – Wikipedia

          Do you have any recommendations for more information on the Silver Legions anti-labor activities?

    • Phil Freeman

      This bodes ill. A great potential for a fascist digital surveillance/police state of a type heretofore unimaginable. UK just passed a surveillance act which Is awaiting royal ascent. UK is unarmed, and has one CCTV cam per thirteen citizens. The fact we are armed may be our saving grace.