When Blackwater security guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007, everyone blamed the company, but the State Department’s hands may be dirty too, The New York Times reports. In testimony made public on Tuesday, Kenneth Kohl, the lead prosecutor in the case against Blackwater, said he had evidence that the inquiry into the affair was tainted. Among his claims: A State Department security agent at the Baghdad embassy "expressed concern” that his coworkers were handling evidence in a way they hoped would help Blackwater; the five Blackwater guards involved in the civilian shootings described the incident as "murder in cold blood" to the Blackwater management, who never reported the statements to the State Department; U.S. military officials told prosecutors that State Department investigators had badgered Iraqi witnesses; and the diplomatic security agents who initially investigated the affair left out crucial details from their report on a witness. Blackwater, which has since changed its name to Xe Services, refrained from commenting on the affair.
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