US Embassy Blamed State Dept Investigator For Upsetting Its Relationship With Blackwater After Investigator Complained About Death Threat
from the above-the-law dept
The "private security" contractor formerly known as Blackwater has often been accused of being engaged in what might normally be seen as a level of evil and depravity normally reserved for over-the-top movie villains. And yet, every time new news comes out about the company, it only seems to either live up to that reputation or take it even further. Blackwater is today known as Constellis Holdings as of a few weeks ago. Before that it was Academi. And before that it was also known as Xe Services for a while, as the company keeps trying to get further and further from its Blackwater reputation. NY Times reporter James Risen -- who the DOJ is currently trying to put in jail -- has an astounding report about how a Blackwater exec threatened to kill a State Department investigator, telling that investigator that nothing would be done if he were killed, because it happened in Iraq. Believe it or not, this was over the State Department investigator merely investigating claims of unsanitary conditions in a dining facility, rather than anything more serious:
Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.
As chilling as that is, what may be even more ridiculous was the reaction of US embassy officials in Iraq, when they were told of this threat. Rather than siding with the State Department investigator, they sided with Blackwater, and whined about the investigator "disrupting" their relationship with Blackwater:
American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports.
A few weeks after the State Department investigators were kicked out of the country by the US embassy, the infamous incident with Blackwater employees shooting up civilians happened. Following that, the State Department finally "took statements" from the investigators about what happened, "but took no further action." As Risen's report notes, when an investigation happened of the shootings, it appears that the warnings about Blackwater's out of control and "above the law" nature that the investigators had sent just weeks earlier were entirely suppressed.
Patrick Kennedy, the State Department official who led the special panel, told reporters on Oct. 23, 2007, that the panel had not found any communications from the embassy in Baghdad before the Nisour Square shooting that raised concerns about contractor conduct.
“We interviewed a large number of individuals,” Mr. Kennedy said. “We did not find any, I think, significant pattern of incidents that had not — that the embassy had suppressed in any way.”