The New York Times reported today that F.B.I. Says Guards Killed 14 Iraqis Without Cause
Federal agents investigating the Sept. 16 episode in which Blackwater security personnel shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians have found that at least 14 of the shootings were unjustified and violated deadly-force rules in effect for security contractors in Iraq, according to civilian and military officials briefed on the case.
Earlier this year, Congressman David Price, a Democrat from the NC 4th district pushed a provision that was included in the Defense Bill. The bill provides more “transparency and accountability in the government’s use of armed contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The Price provision would strengthen this bill and enable Congress with the ability to provide more oversight of these contractors.
Today on WUNC radio, Catherine Brand interviewed Congressman Price about the letter he sent to Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice asking for further inquiry into the incident. ( listen to the full interview here ) In the interview, Con. Price asks, “ If it turns out that Sec. Rice is not able to prosecute this case, do we cede jurisdiction to the Iraqi courts? We’ll be credible only if we have some way of bringing these people justice. Assuming that the investigation will provide that this is a prosecutable case, if not, the problem remains to be addressed at a later date…..If it turns out that they are not subject to US Civilian law, what are they subject to?”
Congressman Price ended the interview with this opinion, “If the investigation does reveal that the Blackwater contractors were in the wrong what will happen? In the past they would be fired and expelled from Iraq, this is not good enough for this case. The Iraqi government is asserting itself by saying we’re going to take charge of this. It doesn’t play into the suspension that these contract personnel are trigger happy, been shooting up crowds of civilians. Unfortunately reinforcing that narrative has the potential to jeopardize our mission and our troops.”