Blackwater Founder Fights For Reputation

Exclusive: Is Erik Prince a war profiteer or the ultimate patriot burned by his own government?
8:28 | 11/19/13

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Transcript for Blackwater Founder Fights For Reputation
It may very well be one of the most controversial companies in our country's history Blackwater. The secretive private army that for critics came to represent the ugly -- face of American power. Tonight -- hear from the man who founded and ran the entire operation he's been accused of getting rich. The deeply unpopular war in Iraq but he says his critics have it all -- ABC's chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz has the interview. They weren't kind of -- -- -- being in the war on terror. But privately owned and heavily armed force led by this man did you -- people ever kill innocent civilians. It's entirely possible. Erik Prince depending on how you see it he's either a great American patriot used -- then dumped by the United States government. Or one of the biggest war profiteers in the history of armed conflict. In the opening pages of his new book prince writes that his company became the ultimate tool in the war on terror. -- it was reportedly here on prince's Virginia State. Six teams of special operatives were trained for CIA led assassination squads. That would hunt down suspected terrorists where ever they might be found. And you. Have been on a target list yourself yes I was. -- was informed that I made the the -- to hit list today Erik Prince would like -- to disregard most of what you've heard about him and Blackwater. -- became such a cyclone of nonsense that would feed off itself. And built this into a ten foot tall -- man was just wasn't the case that you were ready -- -- returned fire but the injury to set the record straight. If you know the name Blackwater you probably remember this the contractors killed in 2004. Their bodies burned and hung from an Iraqi bridge. It is sickening display the accusations. Three years later. Of indiscriminate shootings by Blackwater guards leading to the deaths of civilians. And then Erik Prince himself. Called before congress for a lashing but few expect things. Apologize for anything that happened. Think again. Some people will always. Hate to name Blackwater that might not like me I am perfectly comfortable that Erik Prince grew up -- -- wealthy and conservative Michigan family his father. And immensely successful automotive entrepreneur -- After -- stint in the Navy SEALs prince decided in the late 1990s. To use his inherited fortune. To build a private training facility for military and law enforcement in the swamps of North Carolina. I love being a seal I loved to work in those kind of guys in the sense of mission. And Blackwater -- started to continue that sense of mission then came the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. And that terror attacks of 9/11. And Blackwater would grow rapidly into a vital security and support contractor for the Pentagon. This State Department and the CI today guys. Protect -- state farm people members of congress even Senator Obama when he was visiting there. -- don't came spiraling down into heels storm of negative attention you know you. -- -- -- lot of criticism about inflaming anti American sentiment just because of the way. You operate there that's partially true. Because of the rules. Dictated by the State Department you will drive a wash and wax Chevy Suburban between eight point -- point B every day with lights and sirens on. It's pretty easy for the enemy to play -- -- I've been in those convoys when you were protecting. Government officials and you can't -- hundred miles an hour when the enemy when the enemies coming at you those are the only tactics you have left you signed the contract. Is it it is that the way it shouldn't -- and don't know we would prefer to run at the way we wanted to run -- how about fighting back and saying this isn't the way we should be doing this because -- -- create such a state department's fault that there we try Americans and where we're at the where at the end of that tale. Getting -- do you take any of the blame -- my greatest regret. Is going to work for the State Department. If I sound an apologetic I guess I -- A State Department official today told ABC news that its agreement with Blackwater. Required the use of US government furnished vehicles. But that the use of sirens was not a contractual requirement. Despite pulling in about two billion dollars in government contracts. Prince bristles at for trails of him as a war profit two year after the endless. Lawsuits fines professionally and then. Financially it's like thirteen -- years but ABC news cannot verify any of that because it was a private company. The beginning of the end for Blackwater -- -- was September 2007. With several of its contractors were accused of firing into a crowd of citizens in Baghdad's -- -- square. After a car bomb had exploded a mile away. At least eleven people died including a nine year old boy. A handful of Blackwater contractors were charged with manslaughter one pleaded guilty the others are contesting the charges. In court papers the government has alleged the guards opened fire with automatic weapons and grenade launchers on unarmed civilians. At this point it's a highly political prosecution it's just political you think at this point it is that if the amount of scrutiny paid to that event. Was paid every other shooting he would -- at the justice department for the next for the next decade. It was the incident that eventually led to black squatters expulsion from Iraq in 2009. Prince now says that long before the company's reputation began to unravel and for many years after that. Blackwater took on an even larger but less conspicuous role in the global war on terror. He is guarded about discussing details. What can you -- -- relationship with scene -- there's all kinds of things the company did. And there's things that I did personally. Blackwater teams were reported to be deeply involved in Covert activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan until 2009. Including the highly controversial use of unmanned aircraft to go after suspected terrorists. What's Blackwater involved. In -- -- it's been publicly reported many times that the company was and you would not dispute that. Well media reports a lot of it and -- I won't dispute that one now. And prince claims that after the CIA cut ties with Blackwater then CIA director Leon Panetta. Out in -- and black squatters secret role in a closed door briefing to congress in -- soon leaked to the press. -- we had signed up to do is very serious work we are asked to help. And then. To be -- by name to a very leaky. Congress that's unprecedented. A represented -- for Panetta tells ABC news. That the former CIA director was required to brief congress on Covert programs. And that he had no control over what happened to the information after that. The CIA declined to comment on its association with friends you talk about. President Obama. In the park. And you say your connection to President Obama is quote closer than he has ever wanted to admit what do you mean. It just that there is some of these key programs that he was depending on that he knew you were involved with -- -- so now. To you met him never you write I am no hero the world knows all too well about my mistakes but it was never meant to played the villain. Do you feel burned by -- people who hired two door to a certain extent yes so there are correct Narnia. Tears and regrets wouldn't do it again. I'm not so sure that I would -- Martha Raddatz for Nightline -- Virginia. And Erik prince's new book civilian warriors is in bookstores today.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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