His company in crisis, Erik Prince took a calculated risk on choosing the venue with perhaps the greatest potential downside, and it paid off.
Blackwater is the private security company contracted to protect American VIPs traveling in Iraq. The Iraqi government has claimed members of his Blackwater security service killed 17 innocent civilians. The U.S. military sided with the Iraqi charges, the FBI started an investigation, and Iraq wanted Blackwater out of the country.
Prince, a former Navy Seal founded Blackwater and is CEO. He had managed to stay off the media radar until these allegations erupted. You’d think that he’d be the most unlikely of all to choose the CBS investigative/documentary magazine so often vilified as left-leaning and agenda-driven.
Correspondent Lara Logan, a veteran journalist covering the war in Iraq, challenged Prince with the claims that he and his employees are reckless mercenaries. Prince rejected that contention and went right to the essence of his message for this interview. “I’m an American working for America.”
That statement set the tone. Most likely well-served by the discipline he needed to become a Seal, Prince remained calm and never over-reacted to even the strongest charges against him and his company.
Logan questioned why other private security companies allege that Blackwater is the most aggressive. Prince responded from his perspective, saying that his company protects the most important VIPs in the most dangerous areas of Iraq.
Erik Prince chose the toughest opportunity he could’ve for an interview, and came into it prepared both emotionally and with strong messages.
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