Report: Blackwater Involved in Other Civilian Deaths
A report prepared by congressional Democrats shows that Blackwater USA security contractors in Iraq were involved in at least 195 incidents in which weapons were fired since early 2005, including several previously unreported killings of Iraqi citizens, and that 122 employees have been fired for reasons such as misusing weapons, violent behavior and drug abuse problems.
Jackie Northam reported for All Things Considered that the State Department has asked the FBI to go to Iraq and examine the evidence in the Sept. 16 shooting involving Blackwater that killed at least 11 Iraqis. The FBI also may pursue any possible criminal charges related to the shooting. In a statement released Monday, Blackwater promised full cooperation with the FBI investigation.
Northam noted that the congressional report states that in more than 80 percent of the 195 shooting incidents, Blackwater employees fired first, often from moving vehicles and without stopping to see if anyone had been killed or injured. The data was gathered from hundreds of internal Blackwater and State Department documents.
Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have tried unsuccessfully to get the chairman, California Democrat Henry Waxman, to delay today's hearing into Blackwater's conduct until the investigations are completed, cautioning against turning the shooting into the State Department's "Abu Ghraib."
9:43 AM ET | 10- 2-2007 | permalink