A project manager for Blackwater allegedly threatened to kill a State Department official in Iraq after it had begun investigating the security contractor just weeks before the controversial 2007 shootings in Baghdad’s Nisour Square which resulted in 17 civilian deaths, reports The New York Times.
Daniel Carroll of Blackwater reportedly met with Jean C. Richter and Donald Thomas Jr. of the State Department to discuss the contractor’s work in the country and the details of a review that had been conducted about the company. Richter claims Carroll told him “that he could kill me at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to a memo sent to senior State Department officials.
Carroll, a former Navy SEAL who served with elite unit Team 6, reportedly delivered the threat in “a low, even tone of voice” with “his head slightly lowered” and his eyes fixed on the officials. Richter admitted he took the threat very seriously and believed it could be carried out.
Richter and Thomas were accused of creating “an unnecessarily hostile environment for a number of contract personnel,” and with the backing of the American Embassy in Baghdad, Blackwater was reportedly able to get the State Department officials ordered out of Iraq.
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When they returned to Washington, Richter did not stay silent about the discoveries he said they made about Blackwater. The chief investigator claims the company took advantage of its $1 billion contract to protect American diplomats and had created “an environment full of liability and negligence.” He also warned: “The management structures in place to manage and monitor our contracts in Iraq have become subservient to the contractors themselves.”
His report was largely ignored, even after the incident at Nisour Square, in which four Blackwater guards are currently facing trial for a shooting that claimed the life of a 9-year-old boy, among other civilians.
Neither Richter nor Thomas were interviewed after former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice created a panel to investigate the shootings, nor was Carroll questioned about the accusations. Despite the Times’ attempt to interview Carroll, he declined to comment.
Source: The New York Times