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Blackwater founder welcomes FBI probe into Iraqi civilian shootings

[JURIST] Erik Prince, founder and owner of private security firm Blackwater USA [corporate website; JURIST news archive], said Sunday that his company welcomes the ongoing US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigation [JURIST report] into the killing of 17 Iraqis last month by a Blackwater security detail. In an interview with 60 Minutes [CBS report], Prince said that he has not seen evidence that would support "any kind of egregious, malicious, intentional wrong behavior," but said that he supported the FBI acting as a "neutral party." Iraqi government investigators probing the killings have concluded that the Blackwater security detail's actions in the September shooting incident [JURIST report] were unprovoked, and amounted to "deliberate murder" [JURIST report].

On September 16, Blackwater guards allegedly fired on civilians, killing 17 and prompting the Iraqi government to withdraw Blackwater's operating license [JURIST report]. In response to domestic outrage, the Iraqi Interior Ministry is proposing draft legislation [JURIST report] to be submitted to the Iraqi parliament that places private security contractors under Iraqi legal jurisdiction. The US House has passed a bill that would expand US jurisdiction over private contractors [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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