The Blackwater’s top manager threatened to kill a State Department investigator reviewing the private security contractor’s operations in Iraq, according to a published report.
In August 2007, the State Department dispatched two investigators to Iraq for a monthly review, but the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s project manager, Daniel Carroll, threatened to “kill” the government’s chief investigator, Jean C. Richter, saying “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” the New York Times reports.
American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater and told the investigators to leave immediately.
A few weeks later, Blackwater guards opened fire on Iraqis at Baghdad’s Nisour Square, killing 17 civilians in what several investigations concluded was an unprovoked attack.
Before the investigation was shut down, the Times reports, Richter had found evidence of widespread misconduct ranging from joyriding in an Army vehicle to falsifying staff data, understaffing security details and allowing contractors to carry weapons.
Once the investigators returned to Washington, Richter wrote a report to the State Department describing how Blackwater guards considered themselves “above the law,” and had created “an environment full of liability and negligence.”
On October 5, 2007, three weeks after Blackwater committed the Nisour Square massacre, State Department officials finally responded to Richter’s warning.