Saturday, September 22, 2007

Feds Probe Blackwater Over Arms Smuggling

I pay little attention when highly trained shooters go full rock and roll on some sandfleas but this is a horse of a different color...

WASHINGTON - "Federal prosecutors are investigating whether employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA illegally smuggled into Iraq weapons that may have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of an American-designated terrorist organization, officials said yesterday.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Raleigh, N.C., where Blackwater is based, is handling the investigation with help from Pentagon and State Department auditors who have concluded there is enough evidence to file charges, the officials told The Associated Press.

The chief Federal prosecutor for the eastern district of North Carolina, George Holding, and a spokeswoman for Blackwater did not return calls seeking comment today. Pentagon and State Department spokesmen declined to comment.

Officials with knowledge of the case said it is active, although at an early stage. They spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, which has heightened since 11 Iraqis were killed Sunday in a shooting involving Blackwater contractors protecting an American diplomatic convoy in Baghdad.

The officials could not say whether the investigation would result in indictments, how many Blackwater employees are involved or if the company itself, which has won hundreds of millions of dollars in government security contracts since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, is under scrutiny.

In today's editions, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that two former Blackwater employees — Kenneth Wayne Cashwell of Virginia Beach, Va., and William Ellsworth "Max" Grumiaux of Clemmons, N.C. — are cooperating with federal investigators."

This might be payback from certain anti-war dems, just as I believed the shootings to be, but we'll just have to allow the investigations to run their course. I've no horse in this race. Just never heard much bad about Blackwater and if they were running an untidy ship the rumors would have been rampant.

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