Sunday, October 07, 2007

State Dept ignored warnings

State Dept. ignored Blackwater warnings

Yuri Cortez / AFP/Getty Images
ACCOUNTABILITY: Complaints about Blackwater guards' behavior were acknowledged by some in the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, but received little high-level attention.
Diplomats had raised concerns about guards' endangering of Iraqi civilians, but the complaints got little attention.
By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 7, 2007
WASHINGTON -- The State Department, which is facing growing criticism of its policy on private security contractors, overlooked repeated warnings from U.S. diplomats in the field that guards were endangering Iraqi civilians and undermining U.S. efforts to win support from the population, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Ever since the contractors were granted immunity from Iraqi courts in June 2004 by the U.S.-led occupation authority, diplomats have cautioned that the decision to do so was "a bomb that could go off at any time," said one former U.S. official.

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