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Blackwater admits shooting - Operative killed Iraqi worker Print

Jay Price, Staff Writer - 8.2.2007
An attorney for North Carolina-based Blackwater USA said Wednesday that one of the company's operatives shot and killed an Iraqi security worker.

The Blackwater man was off duty when the shooting occurred, and the company brought him back to the United States and fired him, said Andrew G. Howell during testimony before a congressional oversight committee.

He did not identify the worker.

The revelation came under questioning from Rep. Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, who cited a story in The (Norfolk, Va.) Virginian-Pilot that said the shooting occurred on Christmas Eve. It was the company's first public admission of the the killing.

Kucinich asked whether the man would be extradited to Iraq. Howell replied he didn't know. The FBI and the Department of Justice were investigating, and Blackwater was cooperating, he said.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said in a telephone interview last month that a security officer for an Iraqi official had been killed by an American contractor but declined to identify the employer of either man. The Iraqi government was leading the investigation, he said.

Critics have charged that security contractors in Iraq are not accountable under Iraqi or U.S. law.

A News & Observer analysis of "serious incident reports" filed by contractors showed that during nine months in 2004-05, contractors reported firing into 61 civilian vehicles they thought threatened them. In just seven cases were Iraqis clearly attacking.

It was unclear how many Iraqis were injured or killed. 

 
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