This is with reference to the revealing report published in your paper on December 20 regarding the notorious private army of USA known as the Blackwater whose operatives, according to many informed people, are active in Pakistan despite all the denials of the American and Pakistani high officials, including our worthy Ambassador to Washington, Hussain Haqqnai. Blackwater, now known as XE Worldwide Services, has tens of thousands of very well armed and highly-trained private contractors employed on military-related duties inside the US-occupied Iraq and Afghanistan. These men are mostly retired soldiers of elite American military units and, hence, very well versed in advanced techniques used in special operations like sting, snatch, espionage and sabotage. Many other private security companies from US, like DynCorp, MPR, MVR, Tripple Canopy etc also conduct overseas operations and business in support of the US Army but in recent times, most significant contracts were given to Blackwater alone, at times even without the requisite formality of open tenders. The link between Blackwater, Pentagon, CENTCOM and CIA, therefore, appears to be very, very strong. That is why the free romp of the Blackwater boys around Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi, under whatever cover they may be, is a serious cause of alarm for us as a nation. -BRIGADIER LIAQAT ALI TOOR (Rtd), Lahore, December 21.