Blackwater Probers Return to Baghdad

Feds investigate massacre that killed 17, seek trial in US
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2008 5:13 AM CST
An Iraqi traffic policeman inspects a car destroyed Sept. 16, 2007, by a Blackwater security detail in al-Nisoor Square in Baghdad, Iraq in this Sept. 20, 2007 file photo. Blackwater Worldwide repaired...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Federal authorities investigating the Blackwater shootings that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead will revisit the scene of the massacre this week. Prosecutors from the Justice Department have already arrived in Baghdad, to be joined by inspectors from the FBI. But the inquiry has been hamstrung by the American government's promise of immunity to Blackwater bodyguards who gave written testimony, writes AP.

Prosecutors are investigating whether the September 16 incident falls under the provisions of the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, which would allow the feds to prosecute Blackwater workers in America. Employees of the private security contractor are exempt from prosecution in Iraqi courts, and lawyers for Blackwater are expected to argue that their employees were merely guards, not extensions of the Department of Defense.