Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Investigators Offered Immunity To Blackwater Guards

State Department investigators offered Blackwater security guards immunity during an inquiry into last month’s deadly shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians, government officials said [Monday]
according to David Johnston of the New York Times who reports that those officials called it
a potentially serious investigative misstep that could complicate efforts to prosecute the company’s employees involved in the episode.
Wait! It gets better.
The State Department investigators from the agency’s investigative arm, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, offered the immunity grants even though they did not have the authority to do so
says Johnston, while
Prosecutors at the Justice Department, who do have such authority, had no advance knowledge of the arrangement ...
Slick, no?
State and Justice Department spokesmen would not comment on the matter. “If there’s any truth to this story, then the decision was made without consultation with senior officials in Washington,” one State Department official said.

The immunity deals came as an unwelcome surprise at the Justice Department, which was already grappling with the fundamental legal question of whether any prosecutions could take place involving American civilians in Iraq.
and so on ... more legal analysis at the link and some background here: .

Speed Bump: Will Mass Murder In Nisoor Square Slow The Growth Of Blackwater?

A Humiliating Figure: State Department Offers Cash To Families Of Nisoor Square Victims