FBI report: Blackwater killed 14 Iraqis without cause
Yahoo News/AFP
November 14, 2007

WASHINGTON (AFP) - FBI investigators have found that Blackwater guards shot 14 people with no justification in the controversial September 16 incident in Baghdad, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

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.

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