NY Times: FBI finds Blackwater shootings unjustified
An FBI investigation has found that 14 of the 17 Blackwater shootings were "unjustified and violated deadly-force rules in effect for security contractors in Iraq", according to a New York Times report.
Seventeen people were killed when Blackwater private security guards opened fire in a crowded Baghdad neighborhood as they protected a State Department convoy. Blackwater said the guards came under attack.
At least 14 of the shootings broke rules for private security guards in Iraq regarding the use of deadly force, the Times reported, citing unnamed civilian and military officials briefed on the case.
Up to five Blackwater guards fired weapons during the incident, including one guard described as "turret gunner No. 3" who was responsible for several deaths, the report said.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents also found no evidence that the convoy was attacked by Iraqis, as Blackwater claims.
"I wouldn't call it a massacre," an unnamed government official told the Times. "But to say it was unwarranted is an understatement."
The Blackwater guards work for the US State Department and fall outside US military jurisdiction. In 2004 then US administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer, approved a law granting immunity to private security firms operating in the country.
The Pentagon -- which has opened a separate investigation into the killings -- said in late October it will coordinate the movements of security firms in Iraq.
The Iraqi government has called for Blackwater to be barred from operating in the country.
The State Department employs has more than 2,500 security contractors in Iraq to protect diplomats and guard its facilities.
The following video is from MSNBC's First Look and CNN's American Morning, broadcast on November 14, 2007.
(includes wire sources)