Blackwater, the private security firm under investigation for a dozen civilian deaths in Iraq last week, is now being faulted for actions that led to a 2004 battle in which 36 US soldiers and 600 civilians were killed. Blackwater is charged with sending a disorganized, unprepared four-man team into the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, resulting their murder and mutilation by insurgents, AP reports. That in turn triggered a bloody, month-long offensive by US forces.
The criticism comes in a report from a Democratic congressional committee investigating the incident. A Blackwater spokesman rejected the findings. "The terrorists determined what happened that fateful day in 2004," she said. The committee is chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman, a longtime Blackwater critic. Blackwater founder Erik Prince is scheduled to testify before the panel next week.