by WorldTribune Staff, October 15, 2017
Erik Prince, founder of the Blackwater security firm, is calling for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to launch a formal investigation into the Obama team’s “incidental” surveillance of Americans who met with foreign officials.
Erik Prince told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the Obama administration’s unmasking of him is “disgusting” and “an abuse of an intelligence service’s powers.”
Prince said a January 2017 meeting he had with a Russian businessman was deliberately leaked by the Obama administration and featured in a front-page Washington Post article on April 3.
Prince, who sold his stake in Blackwater in 2010, called on the Justice Department to investigate the unmasking scandal, telling The Daily Caller: “This is an abuse of an intelligence service’s powers. It is dangerous. This is a problem for American liberty.”
The Post, which relied solely on unnamed sources, claimed that Prince was in the Seychelles islands Jan. 11 as part of an elaborate conspiracy by then President-elect Donald Trump to establish a secret, back-channel to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in January between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump,” the Post article said.
The Post claimed that the meeting with the Russian allegedly took place over a two-day period, stating, “The Seychelles encounter, which one official said spanned two days, adds to an expanding web of connections between Russia and Americans with ties to Trump.”
Prince told The Daily Caller that “The thing that really bothers me is I was unmasked for political purposes to The Washington Post.”
Prince said the Seychelles meeting did not take place over two days, but merely over a beer at a restaurant at the island’s Four Seasons Hotel.
“I was there on a business meeting to see some Emirates (UAE citizens),” Prince said.
“They said, ‘there’s this Russian guy in town on some Russia-Emirates related business,’ ” he recalled. “I met him. I think the meeting lasted five or ten minutes and that was it.”
Prince said his conversation with the Russian had nothing to do with the United States, U.S.-Russian relations, the election, or a future Trump administration. He told The Daily Caller the meeting was so forgettable he cannot remember the Russian’s name.
“We talked about the Russian business climate, where we thought oil was headed price-wise and how much he thought Russia would like to do business in America,” he said.
“It had nothing to do with national security, the Trump campaign or anything else,” he said.
Prince also told The Daily Caller the Seychelles meeting wasn’t the only time the Obama administration unmasked him.
“I’ve had on numerous times, when I lived in the Emirates that my rights as a citizen were violated. I would meet with an Emirate official and minutes later, they would get a phone call saying, ‘why are you meeting with that guy?’ That’s just not America. This was America under the Obama intelligence groups. That’s disgusting.”