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Ghost in the Machine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-07-07 08:16 PM
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Blackwater Probe Narrows Focus to Guards
Blackwater Probe Narrows Focus to Guards
Published: 12/7/07, 6:25 PM EDT
By MATT APUZZO and LARA JAKES JORDAN

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal prosecutors investigating the shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians have narrowed their focus on as few as three Blackwater Worldwide bodyguards and have given others immunity for cooperating in the case, The Associated Press has learned.

New information about the deadly Sept. 16 incident, which has strained relations between the United States and Iraq, reflects progress by the government to prosecute Blackwater guards for the shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square.

A final decision on whether to prosecute the guards - and how many - may still be months away. But two weeks into a federal grand jury investigation, people close to the case told AP that authorities have focused the number who could face charges to about three of the dozen or more guards on the security detail.

Despite the progress, the people who discussed the case noted concerns about testimony given by the four Blackwater guards who have so far appeared in front of the secret panel. Details were discussed on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.

The concerns stem, in part at least, from the fact that Blackwater is paying one law firm to represent as many as 10 guards, raising concerns that their stories could be coordinated. The Justice Department tried to get the firm removed from the case but, in a closed-door hearing last week, a federal judge refused the request.

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Ghost in the Machine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 12:53 AM
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