A 2007 investigation into the Blackwater security firm's operations in Iraq was cut short after the firm's top manager in the area threatened to kill the State Department's investigator, according to State Department documents. The investigation was cut short just weeks before Blackwater guards killed 17 civilians in what investigators found to be an unprovoked attack.
According to documents obtained by The New York Times, Blackwater Manager Daniel Carroll met with Special Agent Jean Richter and contractor Donald Thomas Jr. in their office to discuss their investigation into the firm's substandard dining hall facilities. That's when Carroll said "I can kill you right now where you sit and no one's going to do a thing about it because of where we are at," according to Richter's statement. Thomas corroborated his story and said in his statement that Carroll said "I could shoot and kill you here in Iraq and no one would do anything about it because that is the way it is here." Thomas made a comment comparing Iraq to the O.K. Corral and Carroll responded, "yes, that's right, because no one here cares."
Richter wrote that Carroll made the threat with "a low, even tone of voice, his head was slightly lowered; his eyes were fixed on mine." He took the threat seriously, as he and Thomas had also been warned to be careful about their investigation, which threatened lucrative security contracts. Their investigation found:
- Blackwater reduced its security details on diplomats without notifying the State Department
- Some guards carried weapons they weren't certified or trained to use and kept the weapons in their private rooms
- The guards drank, partied and had "female visitors" in their rooms
- Four Blackwater guards took a drunken joyride in a heavily armored $180,000 vehicle to go to a private party (they crashed into a wall)