A story in tomorrow’s Washington Post reports that early in 2004, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld became angry that the Pentagon was losing control over reconstruction efforts in Iraq. In return, he refused to provide military security for diplomats, forcing the State Department to rush to Blackwater:
The next year, as the United States prepared to return sovereignty to the Iraqis and the State Department began planning an embassy in Baghdad, Rumsfeld lost a bid to retain control over the full U.S. effort, including billions of dollars in reconstruction funds. A new executive order, signed in January 2004, gave State authority over all but military operations. Rumsfeld’s revenge, at least in the view of many State officials, was to withdraw all but minimal assistance for diplomatic security.
“It was the view of Donald Rumsfeld and [then-Deputy Defense Secretary] Paul Wolfowitz that this wasn’t their problem,” said a former senior State Department official. Meetings to negotiate an official memorandum of understanding between State and Defense during the spring of 2004 broke up in shouting matches over issues such as their respective levels of patriotism and whether the military would provide mortuary services for slain diplomats. [...]
State chose the most expedient solution: Take over the Pentagon’s personal security contract with Blackwater and extend it for a year.