US Ignored Warnings on Security Firms

Stream of Iraqi reports went unheeded over two years
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2007 9:21 PM CST
A private security guard keeps position on top of his armored personnel carrier in this undated file photo.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The Bush administration ignored repeated warnings about using private security contractors such as Blackwater in Iraq, the Washington Post reports. Despite the warnings from legal experts and military officials over the past two years, the US did not acknowledge the need for oversight—and, in fact, expanded the presence of such firms—until the killing 17 Iraqi civilians in September, the Post notes.

"We sent many memos up the chain of command," said one former adviser. Even now, no case has been brought against any security contractor in Iraq, and both a Dec. 5 defense memorandum and a 2006 congressional provision to define government authority over the firms remain unimplemented. “It was a total wasteland” says a longtime security coordinator in Iraq. "We could hire the Rockettes and give them guns, and [the administration] wouldn't know."