Ultimate Question on Blackwater: Is This Cost Effective? (Rep. Tom Davis)

The ultimate question is: is this the most cost-effective use of their dollars? They haven’t made the case. In fact, the State Department’s own numbers show half a million dollars per employee over there when you figure in all the costs. So we probably ought to do a comparison with the GAO showing what it costs to use a private contractor.

Whoever does this work, it’s going to be ugly. You’re going to have incidents. It’s just the nature of the beast: when you’re defending people, you’re going to get fired on.

So I think part of this is driven by the fact that Blackwater has an affiliation with the DeVosses and all that kind of stuff. This originally came to the fore by letters from Democratic trial attorneys who have cases pending against Blackwater, and Speaker Pelosi saying, "now that we’re in control we need to uncover this."

And, of course, everything that’s said up here you can find in a court. Good things can come out of a hearing like this, but we have to look at the ugly side as well, and that is that partisanship sometimes rears its head on us.

We ought to be asking appropriate questions in terms of what is the government’s and what is the contractor’s role in these different circumstances.

Rep. Davis is Ranking Member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which held a hearing Tuesday on Blackwater USA's role in Iraq.