Well, that's one way to deal with being investigated. In 2007, Blackwater USA's project manager for Iraq essentially threatened to kill two State Department investigators, according to an explosive new report in the New York Times today. The incident took place not long before the private security contractor became infamous for allegedly murdering 17 civilians in Baghdad. Investigators Jean Richter and Donald Thomas found a host of contract violations even before that, including:
- Blackwater guards frequently drank heavily and partied with women. In one incident, drunk guards commandeered a $180,000 armored vehicle to drive it to a party, and crashed it into a concrete barrier.
- Blackwater manipulated and falsified its personnel records to overbill the State Department, and cut back its guard details on diplomats without department approval.
- A firm affiliated with Blackwater kept low-wage foreign workers in squalid conditions, forcing them to live in crowded rooms without beds.
When the two investigators met with Blackwater manager Dan Carroll to complain about Blackwater's unsanitary conditions, Carroll, in "a low, even tone of voice" said "that he could kill me at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq," Richter's report says. Thomas corroborated the incident, and added that others in Baghdad had warned them to be "very careful" in their inquiry. Amazingly, the embassy staff then sided with Carroll, and ordered the investigators to leave Iraq, saying they had become "disruptive." This isn't the first time Blackwater has been accused of pushing the envelope—founder Eric Prince, for example, allegedly "graymailed" the CIA