Discuss as:

More questions over private contractors

From NBC's Jim Miklaszewski
U.S. and Blackwater sources tell NBC News that armed Blackwater guards did take part in CIA raids aimed at capturing or killing insurgents and terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it was not part of the CIA's contract with the
controversial private security firm. 

According to the officials, the Blackwater guards, most of them former U.S. Special Operations forces from Delta Force of the Navy Seals were contracted to provide additional armed protection for CIA operatives, but "in the heat of battle" they [Blackwater] may have actually participated in the mission itself.

One official said it was on an "as-needed basis," when the CIA or military commander of a mission felt "additional firepower" was needed to complete the mission or protect his forces.

No one we talked to would discuss specific instances in which Blackwater guards participated directly in a CIA mission.

The spokesman for Xe Services, formerly Blackwater, Mark Corallo gave us a statement which says, "Blackwater USA was never under contract to participate in covert raids with CIA or Special Operations personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else. Any allegation to the contrary by any news organization would be false."

NOTE: The Corallo statement does not deny that Blackwater provided protective services for CIA personnel in Iraq or Afghanistan. Officially, the CIA may issue a statement later today. Sources report it's not clear whether the battlefield actions by CIA or Blackwater personnel violated any laws, and as far as they know no one involved the operations has been subjected to disciplinary action. The CIA and Congress are still investigating the "blurring of lines" in the CIA/Blackwater contract and operations.