Friday, February 22, 2008

FBI Finally Gets Around to Investigating Blackwater Incident

The AP reports that eight FBI agents and federal prosecutors investigating the September 17 shoot-out at Nisoor Square are returning to the scene as part of their ongoing investigation. The AP writes,

Since opening a grand jury investigation in November, prosecutors have questioned about 30 US witnesses, including Blackwater security guards and managers, during closed-door grand jury sessions in a Washington courthouse. To accommodate the crush of witnesses, prosecutors took the unusual step of requesting a third day of grand jury time each week.

However, read a little further and you find out that some key people were not interviewed, namely the Iraqis at the scene:

Authorities plan to interview about two dozen Iraqis during this trip, many for the first time, according to one person familiar with the investigation. Some Iraqi witnesses spoke to reporters and local police following the shooting.... FBI agents reviewed reports of those interviews but did not question the Iraqi witnesses themselves during the agency's first trip to Baghdad two weeks after the shooting.

So now, five months after the fact, we're hoping that the witnesses are still reliable, if ever they were. Surely the FBI has done enough investigations to know that people begin to confuse details, "remember" things they never saw, and generally become unreliable. It's not the witnesses' fault; it's just the way the human mind works.

Let's hope the good folks at the Bureau are sharp enough to realize their mistake and the limits of this latest fact-finding mission, rather than jumping to conclusions.

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