WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) -- A top manager at Blackwater threatened the life of a State Department official who was investigating the company's operations in Iraq in 2007.
According to the memo obtained by The New York Times, State Department investigator Jean C. Richter reported to officials that the "Blackwater contractors saw themselves as above the law," and the State Department's management structure had become subservient to the security company.
The investigation into the company's activities concluded prematurely after Daniel Carroll, Blackwater's project manager, threatened to kill him.
"No response to my inquiries, Mr. Carroll claimed that WPPS II Camp Baghdad was not technically Department of State property and therefore not under Chief of Mission (COM) Authority. Mr. Carroll accentuated this point by stating that he could 'kill me' at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq. A second individual present, Mr. Donald Thomas, then made a remark that compared the lawless working environment in Iraq to the 'O.K. Corral'."
Richter said he took the threat seriously because they "were in a combat zone where things can happen quite unexpectedly, especially when issues involve potentially negative impacts on a lucrative security contract."
After Richter and his colleagues left Iraq, the U.S. Embassy made a statement in favor of the contractors. It called the investigation "unsustainably disruptive to day-to-day operations and created an unnecessarily hostile environment for a number of contract personnel."
The investigation came weeks before guards from Blackwater killed 17 civilians in Baghdad's Nisour Square. Since leaving Iraq, the company, which is now called ACADEMI, has changed its name twice and is still acting as an "elite security services provider" in North Carolina.