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Report: US Military Finds Blackwater at Fault in Baghdad Shooting


A published report says the U.S. military has determined guards working for a private U.S. security firm in Iraq took excessive action in last month's deadly shooting in Baghdad.

The Washington Post says military reports from the scene of the September 16 shooting show guards with Blackwater USA opened fire without provocation and used excessive force against Iraqi citizens. At least 11 Iraqi civilians were killed when the guards opened fire while protecting a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Baghdad.

A senior U.S. military official - speaking to the newspaper on the condition of anonymity - said Blackwater guards appeared to have fired grenade launchers, in addition to using machine guns.

Earlier this week, the head of Blackwater USA, Erik Prince, defended his employees' actions, saying they were purely defensive.

An official Iraqi investigation into the shooting also found Blackwater guards fired without provocation.

The FBI has dispatched an investigative team to Baghdad to look into the incident at the capital's Nisoor Square.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a measure that would hold Blackwater and other private security firms working for the U.S. government overseas accountable for any criminal actions. The measure would update a current law that subjects private contractors who support U.S. military operations to criminal prosecution in federal courts.

The Bush administration says the measure would place "unwarranted burdens" on the military because they would have to support criminal probes in war zones.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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