Erik Prince and the Failed Plot to Arm a CIA Asset-Turned-Warlord in Libya | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Erik Prince and the Failed Plot to Arm a CIA Asset-Turned-Warlord in Libya

IN 2019, Erik Prince, the founder of the notorious mercenary firm Blackwater and a prominent Donald Trump supporter, aided a plot to move U.S.-made attack helicopters, weapons, and other military equipment from Jordan to a renegade commander fighting for control of war-torn Libya. A team of mercenaries planned to use the aircraft to help the commander, Khalifa Hifter, a U.S. citizen and former CIA asset, defeat Libya’s U.N.-recognized and U.S.-backed government. While the U.N. has alleged that Prince helped facilitate the mercenary effort, sources with knowledge of the chain of events, as well as documents obtained by The Intercept, reveal new details about the scheme as well as Prince’s yearslong campaign to support Hifter in his bid to take power in Libya.

The mission to back Hifter ultimately failed, but a confidential U.N. report issued last week and first reported by the New York Times concluded that Prince, a former Navy SEAL, and his associates violated the U.N. arms embargo for Libya. For more than a year, The Intercept has been investigating the failed mercenary effort, dubbed Project Opus. This account is based on dozens of interviews, including with people involved in the ill-fated mission, as well as the U.N. report and other documents obtained exclusively by The Intercept. It includes a blow-by-blow account of how Prince and an associate sought to pressure the Jordanian government to aid the illicit mission, as well as previously unreported details about how the architects of Project Opus used Prince’s connections to the Trump administration to try to win support for their efforts in Libya.