It's a very busy news day today. In particular, with the important decision from the U.S. Supreme Court (on corporations being granted religious rights and chipping away at more union rights) and the usual partisan chum which is irresistible to network and cable news wags, I'd hate to see this jaw-dropping report from James Risen at New York Times get lost amidst all the holiday week noise.
This amazing story reveals that the billion-dollar private security contracting firm Blackwater, hired by the George W. Bush Administration for all manner of things in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere, was apparently even running rough-shod over the U.S. government itself. An investigation into allegations of their corrupt activities in 2007 --- well before their employees are said to have opened random automatic-weapon fire on a crowd in Iraq's Nisour Square (leading to deaths of 17 civilians, including a 9-year old boy) and the enormous blowback against U.S. troops and other interests that subsequently came with it --- was reportedly shut down by the Administration at the time after the firm's "top manager" in Iraq threatened the U.S. State Department's investigator looking into Blackwater's unbridled abuse of power and contract corruption.
According to documents buried by the U.S. government until now, Blackwater's chief in Iraq, Daniel Carroll warned State Dept. investigator Jean C. Richter to his face "that he could kill me at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq".
The government's investigation of Blackwater went away almost immediately thereafter...