October 4, 2007 / 12:27 PM / 13 years ago

Blackwater won't guard FBI in Iraq shooting probe

WASHINGTON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - The U.S. government, not Blackwater USA, will handle security for FBI agents in Iraq while they investigate whether the private security firm acted properly in an incident that killed 11 Iraqis, the FBI said on Thursday.

"To avoid even the appearance of any conflict, the FBI team deployed from Washington to assist the State Department in the investigation of the events of Sept. 16th will have any additional security needs provided by U.S. government personnel," FBI spokesman John Miller said in a statement.

Blackwater usually guards FBI personnel in Iraq under a State Department contract, the FBI said.

Blackwater, which has received U.S. government contracts worth more than a billion dollars since 2001, is under intense scrutiny over its security work in Iraq after a Sept. 16 incident in which 11 Iraqis were killed while the firm was escorting a U.S. embassy convoy through Baghdad.

The State Department and the FBI are investigating the incident, as are the Pentagon and a joint U.S.-Iraqi team.

A congressional report lists 195 shooting incidents involving Blackwater in Iraq from the start of 2005 until Sept. 12 of this year, an average of 1.4 per week. Blackwater fired first in 84 percent of those incidents, according to the report prepared by the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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