Blackwater unlikely to face charges for Sept. ‘07 Iraq shootout.

In September 2007, Blackwater guards in Iraq engaged in an unprovoked attack, according to witnesses, that killed 11 civilians. The AP reports today that the contractor “is not expected to face criminal charges” over the shooting, “all but ensuring the company will keep its multimillion-dollar contract to protect U.S. diplomats”:

blackwaterpaw.gif Instead, the seven-month-old Justice Department investigation is focused on as few as three or four Blackwater guards who could be indicted in the Sept. 16 shootings, according to interviews with a half-dozen people close to the investigation. The final decision on any charges will not be made until late summer at the earliest, a law enforcement official said.

Nevertheless, families of the shooting victims “are suing Blackwater under a wrongful death claim in civil court.” Furthermore, federal prosecutors in North Carolina are “investigating whether Blackwater played a role in a weapons smuggling case linked to the Kurdish militant group PKK, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.”