Blackwater Under Fire
After fourteen months, indictments are finally being drafted against Blackwater Worldwide, a notable security contractor, for opening fire upon Iraqi civilians in September 2007. Previously, the United States Department of Justice claimed they "lacked legal authority to press charges."
Since their formation in 1997, Blackwater has walked a tight line between "mercenary" and "private security contractor," free from most red tape as they accumulated over $1 billion in contracts with the State Department.
Many elected officials feel that Blackwater's presence in Iraq is abusive to the military's jurisdiction. Washington state's US House Representive Jim McDermott has even labeled them "rogue outfits." President-elect Obama admits to the difficulty of the situation, stating, "we have 140,000 private contractors right there... we can't draw out the contractors faster than we can draw out our own combat troops."
If the Justice Department follows through, Blackwater Worldwide will be the first armed contractor legally charged of their accused crimes.
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