Employees with the security contractor formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide may stay in Iraq, just with a different company, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

Those employees would simply go to work for Triple Canopy, which won a contract to protect State Department employees after the Iraqi government refused to allow Blackwater to operate in its country, according to the newspaper, which cited unnamed "American diplomats, private security industry officials and Iraqi officials."

A State Department spokesman could not verify Saturday that Blackwater employees would stay on under the contract, but he told Stars and Stripes that it is not unusual for contractor employees to stay on under a new contractor.

Blackwater has a bad reputation in Iraq.

In January, five Blackwater guards pleaded not guilty in connection with the shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007 while they were escorting a State Department convoy, The Associated Press reported.

U.S. and Iraqi officials agreed security contractors in Iraq should be subject to Iraqi law as part of the security pact between the two countries that also calls for all U.S. troops to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

Blackwater recently renamed itself Xe.

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