Blackwater threatened to kill US official in Iraq: report

Contractors of the US private security firm BlackwaterThe top manager in Iraq of the notorious private security firm Blackwater threatened to kill a US State Department investigator for probing the company’s performance, The New York Times reported Monday. The Times, citing an internal State Department memorandum, said the threat came just weeks before Blackwater guards shot and killed 17 civilians on September 16, 2007 in Baghdad’s Nisour Square. In an August 2007 memo detailing the threat made to her, lead State Department investigator, Jean Richter, said it “sent a clear message that the Blackwater contractors saw themselves as ‘above the law’ and actually believed that ‘they ran the place.’ The killings, seen as an example of the impunity enjoyed by private security firms on the US payroll in Iraq, exacerbated Iraqi resentment toward Americans and was part of the reason the Iraqi government refused to reach a treaty allowing US troops to stay beyond 2011.

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