BEIRUT

Middle East

Blackwater threatened to kill US investigator in Iraq: report

  • Former Blackwater Worldwide guard Evan Liberty, right, arriving at federal court in Washington to stand trial for the killings of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 18 others in Nisoor Square in Baghdad. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

WASHINGTON: The top manager in Iraq of the notorious private security firm Blackwater threatened to kill a U.S. State Department investigator for probing the company's performance, the New York Times reported Monday.

The Times, citing an internal State Department memorandum, said the threat came just weeks before Blackwater guards shot and killed 17 civilians on September 16, 2007 in Baghdad's Nisour Square.

However U.S. embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater and the State Department investigators were ordered to leave, The Times said.

Four former Blackwater employees are currently on trial in a U.S. court for the Nisour Square deaths.

The killing, seen as an example of the impunity enjoyed by private security firms on the U.S. payroll in Iraq, exacerbated Iraqi resentment toward Americans.

The lead State Department investigator, Jean Richter, warned in the memo dated August 31, 2007, that little oversight of the company, which had a $1 billion contract to protect US diplomats, had created "an environment full of liability and negligence."

Blackwater guards "saw themselves as above the law," Richter wrote.

The Times posted a link to the document at http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/30/us/30blackwater-documents.html

According to a State Department memo, Daniel Carroll, Blackwater's project manager in Iraq, told Richter after an argument "that he could kill me at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq."

Richter wrote: "I took Mr Carroll's threat seriously. We were in a combat zone where things can happen quite unexpectedly, especially when issues involve potentially negative impacts on a lucrative security contract."

A fellow State Department investigator who witnessed the exchange corroborated Richter's report in a separate statement.

Blackwater, whose license to work in Iraq was revoked by Baghdad, has since been renamed twice and after merging with a rival firm is now called Constellis Holdings.

The State Department canceled its contract with the company soon after President Barack Obama took office in January 2009.

 
Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

The top manager in Iraq of the notorious private security firm Blackwater threatened to kill a U.S. State Department investigator for probing the company's performance, the New York Times reported Monday.

The Times, citing an internal State Department memorandum, said the threat came just weeks before Blackwater guards shot and killed 17 civilians on September 16, 2007 in Baghdad's Nisour Square.

However U.S. embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater and the State Department investigators were ordered to leave, The Times said.

Four former Blackwater employees are currently on trial in a U.S. court for the Nisour Square deaths.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here