Justice Department Refutes Immunity to Blackwater Guards

Bump and Update: The Justice Department has released a statement denying that the Blackwater guards have immunity from federal criminal prosecution.
"The Justice Department and the FBI cannot discuss the facts of the Blackwater case, which is under active investigation. However, any suggestion that the Blackwater employees in question have been given immunity from federal criminal prosecution is inaccurate. The Justice Department and the FBI continue the criminal investigation of this matter knowing that this investigation involves a number of complex issues. We are unable to comment further at this time."

Original Post
Wording of Blackwater Immunity Deals

ABC News has obtained the text of the use immunity provided Blackwater guards by the State Department.


"I understand this statement is being given in furtherance of an official administrative inquiry," and that, "I further understand that neither my statements nor any information or evidence gained by reason of my statements can be used against me in a criminal proceeding, except that if I knowingly and willfully provide false statements or information, I may be criminally prosecuted for that action under 18 United States Code, Section 1001."

The text comes from the transcripts of the guards' testimony, copies of which were provided to ABC.

The immunity deal is causing a stir in Congress.

The immunity deal will not prevent the Blackwater guards from ever being prosecuted. However, it forces prosecutors to prove that they did not use the information gleaned from the bodyguards' statements — or anything related to them — when seeking criminal charges. That means investigators will have to find other credible witnesses or evidence to make their case.

....A second senior U.S. official familiar with the investigation said Tuesday that the immunity deal stemmed from a waiver that Blackwater employees signed that banned their initial statements from being used in court. The official said it makes the job harder but does not make prosecution impossible.

Blogging on the Blackwater immunity deal: Marcy at The Next Hurrah; Siun at Firedoglake; David Kurtz at TPM; Think Progress.

Also check out the Center for Constitutional Rights' lawsuit filed against Blackwater on behalf of family members of those killed.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Can you imagine... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Dadler on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 02:15:19 PM EST
    ...any Iraqi getting "immunity" for killing US soldiers?

    We are an Orwellian machine of absurdity and prejudice and murderous delusion.

    And under "absurdity"... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Dadler on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 02:19:00 PM EST
    ...you can file our arming of groups who have, and still do, engage in attacks on our troops.  Here's some weapons, kill us, then we'll kill you back.

    And today Bush has the pathological nerve to suggest Democrats are busting the budget with spending and tax hikes.  As if the 2.4 trillion he's going to waste on useless wars, with TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY, simply does not exist.  Like the old Iron Curtain regimes that would just airbrush you out of photos like you never existed.  Hey, he took "enhanced interrogation" from the Nazis, and the commies need their influence too.


    Forget it Jake, (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by jondee on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 03:14:50 PM EST
    it's Chinatown.

    Tony Soprano's lawyer would be proud (5.00 / 0) (#3)
    by scarshapedstar on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 02:44:08 PM EST
    What a farce this nation has become. Could Congress pass a provision funding Blackwater with a voluntary  check box on our tax returns, like federal election funding? Let the wingnuts put their money where their mouths are. Freedom ain't free, after all...

    as i understand it, (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by cpinva on Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 05:13:30 PM EST
    this "immunity" was "granted" by unknown state dept. personnel, not DOJ. the state dept. hasn't the authority to grant anyone immunity for anything, it's not in their purview. given that, why not go ahead and use the info, and make them argue that immunity, granted by someone with no authority to do so, should shield them?

    the supreme court has previously held that law enforcement agents can lie to suspects with impunity. maybe it's time to test that theory, and see how far the justices are willing to go to support their own opining.

    as well, the crimes occured in iraq, not the US. as a consequence, they should be investigated by the iraqi government (remember them?), any charges should be made by the iraqi's, and they should be tried in iraqi courts, under iraqi law.

    according to the current administration, iraq is a sovereign nation, we are just there to help them. that being the case, these guys should be extradited back to iraq, to face the music for their actions.

    you can't have it both ways.

    just a thought.

    Enemy Combatants? (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by john horse on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 05:56:17 AM EST
    re: "they should be investigated by the iraqi government . . . and they should be tried in iraqi courts, under iraqi law."

    Maybe they should be declared by the Iraqi government "enemy combatants" and renditioned back to Iraq?