Cofer Black : biography
Joseph Cofer Black (born 1950) is a former CIA official who was appointed Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Counter-terrorism by President George W. Bush in December 2002. He led the Office of Counterterrorism in the U.S. State Department, until his resignation in November 2004. Previously Black 28-year career in the Directorate of Operations at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He was appointed Director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center (CTC) in June 1999. Black later became the CEO of The Black Group, a private firm specializing in providing security processes and services to private corporations and government agencies. From 2005 until 2008, Black was Vice Chairman of Blackwater USA, a US-based private security firm. He then served as the chairman of the privately owned intelligence gathering company Total Intelligence Solutions until his current appointment as the Vice President of Blackbird Technologies, a technology solutions provider based in the Washington DC area.
Early life and education
Black was born in 1950, in Stamford, Connecticut. His father was an airline pilot for Pan American Airways, where he flew Boeing 747s on international routes. Black's father would bring him along to Accra, Ghana or Lagos, Nigeria during school breaks for Cofer to explore the African countryside. Black attended an all-boys preparatory school at the Canterbury School (Connecticut).
In 1973, Black completed his BA at the University of Southern California (USC). The next year he earned a Master's degree in international relations, also at USC. Later that year he left the doctoral program to join the CIA.Steve Coll, Ghost Wars (Penguin, 2005 edn), pp.266-7; Cofer had friends in Southern California and made trips camping to Lake Tahoe CA and Reno, NV. "", Blackwater USA press release, Feb. 4, 2005.
US Department of State (2002 - 2004)
Black became the US Department of State's Ambassador-at-Large for counter-terrorism in late 2002. He held this position until November 2004.
As the Coordinator for Counter-terrorism [at the State Department], Ambassador Black's office, S/CT, had primary responsibility for developing, coordinating and implementing U.S. counter-terrorism policy. On behalf of the Secretary of State, Ambassador Black represented the Department on the Counter-terrorism Security Group. His office played a leading role on the Department of State's counter-terrorism task forces organized to coordinate responses to international terrorist incidents. [His] responsibilities included coordinating U.S. Government efforts to improve counter-terrorism cooperation with foreign governments, including the policy and planning of the Department's Antiterrorism Training Assistance Program.
Private sector work (2005 - present)
From 2005 to 2008 Black was Vice Chairman of Blackwater USA (later renamed Blackwater Worldwide), a US-based private security firm which is "the biggest of the State Department's three private security contractors".Matthew Lee, "", Associated Press, September 22, 2007. Black resigned in 2008 reportedly after learning of illegal payments to Iraqi officials.MARK MAZZETTI and JAMES RISEN, "", The New York times, Nov. 10, 2009, p.A01.
Black is also Chairman of Total Intelligence Solutions (Total Intel), a private intelligence gathering group. This company was created in February 2007 by the Prince Group, the holding company that owns Blackwater. Total Intel was formed by the merger of The Black Group LLC (also led by Black), Terrorism Research Center, Inc., and Technical Defense.Dana Hedgpeth, "", Washington Post, Nov. 3, 2007, p.A01.
In March 2006 Black allegedly suggested at an international conference in Amman, Jordan, that Blackwater USA was ready to move towards providing security professionals up to brigade size for humanitarian efforts and low intensity conflicts. Black denies the allegation. Critics have suggested this may be going too far in putting political decisions in the hands of privately owned corporations. The company denies this was ever said.
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