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Uproar Over Blackwater's Otay Facility Reaches Washington

The uproar over Blackwater Worldwide's new Navy training center in Otay Mesa has flared up in Washington. Virginia Senator Jim Webb wants more details about the facility. And he's stalling approval of

Uproar Over Blackwater's Otay Facility Reaches Washington

The uproar over Blackwater Worldwide's new Navy training center in Otay Mesa has flared up in Washington. Virginia Senator Jim Webb wants more details about the facility. And he's stalling approval of four defense officials until he gets it. KPBS Reporter Amita Sharma has more.

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In May, Senator Webb sent Defense Secretary Robert Gates a slew of questions about Blackwater's new San Diego facility. The senator has been an advocate for more accountability of private contractors.

Webb asked Gates whether the center was paid for by federal tax dollars and if there had been legislative authorization for it. He also asked for an explanation on the types of agreements between Blackwater and the Defense Department that have enabled the firm to train Navy personnel.

Gates's reply says the center is paid for by federal tax dollars. Gates says there's no legislative approval for the facility. But he says he had broad authorization to approve services like those provided by the facility. Gates says his staff is reviewing agreements with Blackwater like the one that allows Blackwater to train sailors.

Webb's spokeswoman Kimberly Hunter says Gates' answers aren't good enough and that the senator still has serious questions about Blackwater.

Amita Sharma, KPBS News.