Blackwater has gone to ground--sort of. In a move to apparently distance itself from its image as reckless cowboys that was etched into the world's mind from the September 2007 Baghdad Nisoor Square shoots, Blackwater USA is once again rebranding itself. It has changed its name (and presumably legal structure) to Xe. (Pronounced, "Z" as in "Xena, Warrior Princess.")
The world's largest private security company that once boasted on its website, "We are not simply a 'private security company.' We are a turnkey solution provider for 4th generation warfare," has taken yet another step to distance itself from its swashbuckling past. Due to its aggressive, yet effective tactics, it became the world's poster child for irresponsible guns for hire, an ironic reputation since Blackwater was actually one of the most professional of the hundred plus private military organizations.
Given that the Iraqi government recently kicked Blackwater out of the country and BW subsequently lost that portion of a larger State Department security contract, the move is most likely to distance itself from this past so closely associated with the Bush Administration's questionable Iraq policies and to make contracting with it more palatable for government organizations and private entities. In a few years, everyone will still remember Blackwater, but few will recall that Xe (again, pronounced "Z" as in "Xena, Warrior Princess.") is indeed its successor. The cryptic name is unlikely to incite strong public opposition or at the least the fear of it.
It is unclear if the new legal structure will help limit the legal liabilities of Blackwater, containing them within the Blackwater USA, LLC structure and shielding the new entity.
The shift to Xe (as in "Xena, Warrior Princess") appears to be rather hasty. Xe (as in Xena) does not yet have its own website and they have not yet begun redirecting internet traffic away from the old Blackwaterusa.com. Xe has yet to roll out a new logo.
For those who are remain nostalgic for the old Blackwater bravado, the former Blackwater Pro Shop has been rebranded, but it continues to stock a wide variety of Blackwater gifts, including my fave, the Blackwater bear.