WASHINGTON, April 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department awarded a contract to Triple Canopy to provide security for U.S. personnel in Iraq, a department spokesman said Wednesday.
Triple Canopy will take over from Blackwater Worldwide, now called Xe, spokesman Gordon Duguid said during a news briefing.
Iraqi officials in January denied Blackwater its request for an operating license, in large part because of a September 2007 incident in which Blackwater security guards fired into a crowd and killed 17 Iraqis.
The department on Tuesday awarded Triple Canopy, based in Herndon, Va., "the ground task order for protective security details in Baghdad," Duguid said.
The transition from one private company to the other will begin immediately, "although Blackwater will continue to provide security services until the end of its current task order, which finishes in May," he said.
Duguid said he didn't know the length of the contract or its cost.
A decision about who will perform air services now provided by Xe subsidiary Presidential Airways, or whether a replacement will be sought, hadn't been determined, he said.