Blackwater involved in at least 195 shooting incidents

U.S. security contractor Blackwater was involved in at least 195 shooting incidents in Iraq since 2005, says a congressional report. An average of 1.4 per week.

A report prepared by the staff of committee chair Rep. Henry Waxman, released details from Blackwater's own reports of multiple incidents involving Iraqi casualties and said in most instances (84%) Blackwater fired first. State Department rules say Blackwater's actions should be defensive rather than offensive.

In another development, the FBI said it had been asked by the State Department to send a team of investigators to Iraq to look into the Sept. 16 shootings [in which 2o civilians were killed]. No criminal charges have been filed yet against Blackwater over that incident.

The memorandum also slammed the State Department's oversight of Blackwater and said it was often more interested in getting the company to pay off victims' families and "put the matter behind us" than in investigating what happened.

In a shooting incident on Dec. 24, 2006, a security guard for Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi was killed by an allegedly drunken Blackwater contractor, who was then flown out of the country and faced no charges, the memorandum said.

The State Department's charge d'affaires recommended Blackwater pay $250,000 and give an "apology." Waxman noted the State Department's diplomatic security said that was too much and would cause Iraqis to "try to get killed." Eventually Blackwater agreed on a $15,000 payment.

In another incident where Blackwater shooters killed an "innocent Iraqi," Waxman said the State Department requested only a $5,000 payment to "put this unfortunate matter behind us quickly."


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