[Note: A guy from Blackwater, writing in the comment section of my other Blackwater post, rightly points out that US citizens operating on US soil are, by definition, not mercenaries. In this, he is technically correct. What we call them, espcially those whose previous Blackwater deployment was outside the US, I leave up to you. -KC]
Transcript from a Democracy Now segment: Overkill: Feared Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans [mp3]:
. . . one of them was wearing a golden badge, that identified itself as being Louisiana law enforcement, and in fact, one of the Blackwater mercenaries told us that he had been deputized by the governor of Louisiana, and what's interesting is that the federal government and the Department of Homeland Security have denied that they have hired any private security firms, saying that they have enough with government forces. Well, these Blackwater men that we spoke to said that they are actually on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and indeed with the governor of Louisiana. And they said that they're sleeping in camps organized by the Department of Homeland Security.
One of the Blackwater guys said that when he heard New Orleans, he asked, “What country is that in?” And he was bragging to me about how he drives around Iraq in what he called a State Department issued level five explosion-proof BMW. This, as U.S. soldiers don't even have proper armor on their Humvees and other vehicles. And so, we also overheard one of the Blackwater guys talking to, we presume, a colleague, complaining that he was only being paid $350 a day plus his per diem, and that other firms were paying much more. And we're seeing many of these Blackwater mercenaries and other private security agents roaming the streets of New Orleans.
Now this opens interesting semantic possibilities. Because once these guys are deputized, the Governor's office can claim that they aren't "mercenaries," but rather "deputies."
(Thanks to Terry K!)