2 Blackwater guards among dead at Afghan CIA base

2 Blackwater guards among dead at Afghan CIA base
Blackwater headquarters. AP file photo.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Two of the CIA workers killed in Afghanistan were private contractors with the security company formerly known as Blackwater, according to information released by families.

An obituary released Wednesday for Jeremy Wise, 35, said he was a former Navy SEAL from Virginia Beach, Va., who was working with the company now known as Xe. MindyLou Paresi of Dupont, Wash., said in an interview with The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash., that her husband, Dane Clark Paresi, 46, was also a Xe contractor who was killed.

"All of the agents are national heroes because they were there to do a job, a very large job," she said. "What it was I do not know exactly, but they were heroes fighting the war against terror."

Xe spokesman Mark Corallo declined to confirm whether the men worked for the North Carolina-based company, simply saying "our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the fallen." The CIA is not releasing information about the victims, citing the sensitivity of their mission and other ongoing operations.

A former U.S. intelligence official has said a suicide bomber killed eight people inside a CIA base in Afghanistan, including four CIA officers, three security guards and a Jordanian intelligence officer. Officials have identified the bomber as 36-year-old doctor Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, of Zarqa, Jordan. Officials said he had been recruited by Jordanian intelligence.

The bodies of seven CIA workers arrived Monday at Dover Air Force Base in a small private ceremony attended by CIA Director Leon Panetta, other agency and national security officials, and friends and family.

Blackwater has for years had a tight relationship with the CIA. Along with base security, the company has previously been involved in loading missiles on Predator drones and a secret assassination program. The company has also hired a number of former CIA officials.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.