Blackwater Convictions


Blackwater Worldwide security guards Evan Liberty (L) and Dustin Heard (R) leave the federal courthouse with their legal team and supporters after being arraigned with 3 fellow Blackwater guards on manslaughter charges for allegedly killing 14 unarmed civilians and wounding 20 others in a 2007 shooting in Baghdad, in Washington, Jan. 6, 2009.
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In war zones, private contractors can outnumber U.S. troops. But who controls them? NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with CISAC senior research scholar and Ret. U.S. Army Col. Joseph Felter, and journalist Pratap Chatterjee about current safeguards. Four military contractors with the firm Blackwater were convicted for killing 17 Iraqis back in 2007. The verdict on Oct. 22, 2014, has again put military contractors in the spotlight and raised questions about where and when the U.S. uses them.

Felter argues that as the U.S. draws down its military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, outsourcing safety will continue, but that the U.S. military should start to integrate the paid security units into its command and control structures and include them in military preparations.

You can listen to the story here, on NPR's website.