An apparent misstep by the State
Department in investigating last month's deadly shooting of a 17
Iraqi civilians by Blackwater USA bodyguards.
The Associated Press has learned that all the Blackwater guards
involved, both in vehicles and in at least two helicopters, have
been granted immunity.
Officials say the bodyguards spoke only after receiving
so-called "Garrity" protections, requiring that their statements
only be used internally, and not for criminal prosecutions. The
immunity deal has delayed a criminal inquiry and could undermine
any prosecution efforts.
State Department officials refuse to confirm or deny the
immunity grant. But one official who refused to be quoted by name
said if the immunity was granted, it was was done without any input
or authorization from any senior State Department official in