NEW YORK -- Marines being investigated in the killings last fall in Haditha of two dozen Iraqis, most if not all of them civilians, appear to have destroyed or withheld evidence, according to a published report.
Pages from an official company logbook of the unit involved in the deaths were missing, and an incriminating video taken by an aerial drone was not given to investigators until a top commander asked for it, two Defense Department officials told The
The Pentagon officials said a report about the Haditha killings does not directly accuse Marines of a cover-up, the newspaper said. The report, based on an investigation by Army Major General Eldon A. Bargewell, has not been made public.
The Pentagon officials told the Times that the report faulted officers in the Second Marine Division for not aggressively investigating the Haditha killings, and concluded that the commanders created a climate that minimized the importance of Iraqi lives.
It has previously been reported by Pentagon officials that some Marines who are accused of carrying out the killings had made misleading statements to investigators.
Officials said no conclusions have been drawn by investigators about who might have tampered with the logbook, the Times said.
No charges have been brought in the Haditha killings. The deaths immediately followed a roadside bombing on Nov. 19 that killed a Marine lance corporal.