CIA hires private security firm for $100 million, says source

The CIA has hired Xe Services, the private security firm formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide, to guard its facilities in Afghanistan and elsewhere, according to an industry source.

The previously undisclosed CIA contract is worth about $100 million, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the deal, which is classified.

“It’s for protective services … guard services, in multiple regions,” the source said.

Two other security contractors, Triple Canopy and DynCorp International, put in losing bids for the CIA’s business, the source said.

The revelation comes only a day after members of a federal commission investigating war-zone contractors blasted the State Department for granting Xe a new $120 million contract to guard U.S. consulates under construction in Afghanistan.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano stopped short of confirming the contract, saying only that Xe personnel would not be involved in operations.


Death toll in Brazil flooding likely to be at least 44

Torrential waters flattened a small town as floods raged through two states in northeastern Brazil and the death toll was expected to surpass 44 as rescuers searched Wednesday for hundreds of people reported missing.

Mayor Ana Lopes said the entire town of Branquinha, population 12,000, will have to be rebuilt in a different location. Television footage showed a train station washed away, its tracks ripped from the earth. Cars lay overturned and strewn along a riverbank. Dazed people wandered about streets littered with couches, chairs and mountains of mud.

A humble Roman Catholic Church was one of the few buildings to survive — but it was surrounded by the rubble of nearby homes.

Storms last week dumped a month’s worth of rain on parts of Alagoas and neighboring Pernambuco state, near the point where Brazil juts farthest east into the Atlantic.

The Civil Defense Department said in a statement that 29 deaths had been reported so far in Alagoas, while 15 were reported dead in Pernambuco.


People crossing tracks hitby train; 12 killed, 17 injured

A train speeding through a station near Barcelona on Wednesday ran over a group of young people crossing the tracks, killing at least 12 and injuring 17, a Spanish official said.

A long-distance train passing through the station in the seaside town of Castelldefels hit a group of people crossing the tracks who had just gotten off of a commuter train. The group crossed the tracks above ground rather than using a designated tunnel underneath, said Jose Ramon Mora, head of the Civil Protection Department for Catalonia regional government.

Spanish radio station Cadena Ser reported that most of the fatalities and injuries were young people who had just arrived in the town to celebrate at a beach party marking the start of summer.