Ashcroft tapped as ethics adviser at former Blackwater firm

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft is joining the private security company once known as Blackwater.

Ashcroft, who served during President George W. Bush's first term, will be an independent director for Xe Services, according to a press release Wednesday from the investment group that bought the security firm last year.

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“We are ecstatic and honored to have Attorney General Ashcroft join the USTC team. His relevant experience, unparalleled reputation for integrity and personal commitment to ethics, transparency, and excellence make him a valuable addition to the Company,” said Red McCombs, USTC Holdings’ chairman of the board, in a statement.

Blackwater has often run into controversy.

Several Blackwater guards were involved in a 2007 Baghdad shooting that killed 17 people and angered the Iraqi government. Federal charges against the guards were tossed out of court after it was found that prosecutors mishandled evidence, but a federal appeals court is still looking into the case.

Ashcroft has been picked to lead the company’s new subcommittee on governance. The subcommittee will concentrate on promoting ethics and professionalism at the company.

"I’m delighted to be involved in USTC’s next phase of ownership and growth, particularly in helping to oversee its commitment to professionalism, compliance and accountability within the security industry," Ashcroft said. "This is a company with a strong history of service to its country, and a reputation of best-in-class offerings to its public and private customers. I look forward to helping USTC enhance its governance and oversight capabilities as the company moves forward."