Prince, who is the brother of former U.S. Education secretary Betsy DeVos and grew up in west Michigan, told the Journal it would cost more if people needed his aid in getting out of their homes and to the airport with the Taliban in control of the country.
The article, which described the scramble underway by both American forces and private rescue operations to evacuate Afghans, U.S. citizens and others ahead of an Aug. 31 withdrawal of U.S. troops from that country, said it was unclear whether Prince, who founded the military security firm formerly known as Blackwater was capable of carrying out such rescue missions and flights.Blackwater CEO and founder Erik Prince.
The White House criticized any attempts for private actors to make money off the evacuations, with Press Secretary Jen Psaki noting Wednesday the Biden administration is evacuating tens of thousands of people free of charge.
“We wouldn’t be supportive of profiting off of people who are desperate to get out of the country,” she said.
Prince has been involved in controversies before, including during the Iraq War when Blackwater security forces killed more than a dozen Iraqi citizens in Baghdad. Four years ago, President Donald Trump advisers brought prince in to look at ways of using contractors to conduct military operations in Afghanistan rather than using additional troops.
Prince was also mentioned in the report into Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential election and its aftermath by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for a meeting Prince had with a Russian financier with ties to Vladimir Putin just before Trump took office. The report indicated that an acquaintance of both the Russian financier and Prince told Prince that there was a desire to build a link with the new administration.
Prince told congressional investigators the meeting was a random one.
The latest issue comes just after criticism was leveled at another west Michigander, U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids, following an unauthorized trip to Kabul on Tuesday with another congressman, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass. It is not known how Meijer and Moulton got into Afghanistan, though they departed on a military aircraft, the Pentagon confirmed Wednesday.