WASHINGTON - Federal agents have found that the killings of at least 14 of the 17 Iraqi civilians shot by Blackwater Worldwide security personnel in a September confrontation were unjustified and violated rules of deadly force, The
Citing civilian and military officials briefed on the case, the Times reported on its website last night that the Justice Department was already reviewing the findings even though the FBI was still investigating the shootings, which occurred in Baghdad on Sept. 16.
No evidence supports assertions by Blackwater employees that they were fired upon by Iraqi civilians, the Times reported.
The FBI has concluded that three of the deaths may have been justified under rules that allow lethal force in response to an imminent threat, the Times reported.
A government official familiar with the investigation told the Associated Press last night that no conclusions have been reached about any of the fatalities.
Asked about the Times report, Anne Tyrrell, a Blackwater spokeswoman, said, "If it is determined that one person was complicit in the wrongdoing, we would support accountability in that."