Documents: Blackwater guards were out of controlJune 30, 2014 @ 3:12 pm
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A State Department investigator warned that contractors for Blackwater Worldwide saw themselves as above the law and that the contractors, rather than department officials, were in command, according to a memo disclosed Monday.
The warning to State Department officials came two weeks before shootings in Nisoor Square in Baghdad that killed 14 people and wounded 18 others on Sept. 16, 2007. A trial in the shootings is under way for four former Blackwater security guards.
The New York Times first reported on the memo.
The memo and other State Department documents make clear that the department was alerted to serious problems involving Blackwater before the Nisoor Square shooting.
Blackwater had a contract with the State Department to protect American diplomats.
In the memo to State Department officials, the investigator, Jean Richter, also said he had been threatened by a Blackwater manager regarding the investigation. The manager, according to the memo, said that he could kill the investigator and that "no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq."
On Monday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said she couldn't comment at length on Blackwater given an ongoing legal case. She called the examination seven years ago a regular contract review.
"There were steps taken at the time given threats that people faced, but I don't have any additional information," Psaki told reporters.
Asked if that meant someone from Blackwater threatened a State Department auditor, and that that might have halted the review, Psaki said she only understood "there were reports of threats."
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Does This Make Sense?
Jason Rantz questions Inslee's plan to fund transportation with carbon pollution tax
Michael Medved takes a look at whether the latest Hobbit film is worth your interest
Find holiday events, Santa photo opportunities, and light displays
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.