WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Joseph Schmitz, the Pentagon's chief internal watchdog since March 2002, has quit to join a defense contractor involved in private security services, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday.
Schmitz will become chief operating officer and general counsel of McLean, Virginia-based Prince Group, which manufactures items on contract and owns Blackwater USA, a security consultant working in Iraq, said Lt. Col. Rose-Ann Lynch, a Defense Department spokeswoman.
Schmitz's last day as Pentagon inspector general will be September 9, Lynch said. He headed investigations of a wide range of scandals, including a failed $23.5 billion Air Force deal with Boeing Co. to acquire refueling tankers, sexual assaults at the Air Force Academy and contracting abuses in postwar Iraq.
At Blackwater, Schmitz will be working with Cofer Black, a former State Department and CIA counterterrorism coordinator, who joined earlier this year as vice chairman.
Blackwater USA was founded in 1997 by a former U.S. Navy SEAL to provide flexible training and security worldwide. More than 18 of its employees have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.
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