Rice puts cameras on Blackwater convoys
(Reuters) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday ordered tighter controls on U.S. security contractor Blackwater , including putting cameras on its convoys, after last month's deadly shootings in Iraq.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said dozens of diplomatic security agents would also be sent to Iraq to accompany each convoy protected by Blackwater guards.
The firm, which guards U.S. diplomats in Baghdad, has come under intense scrutiny in the U.S. Congress and is under investigation over the September 16 shootings in Baghdad that killed 11 Iraqis.
"These (measures) are not meant to signal that the review or the investigation of the 16 September incident is heading in any particular direction," said McCormack.
The new measures will apply only to Blackwater and not to two other key State Department security contractors in Iraq, Triple Canopy and DynCorp, McCormack said.
Rice took the actions after receiving an initial report by a special panel she sent to Baghdad to look into the September 16 incident and review overall rules for security contractors. McCormack said more recommendations would follow.
Special agents would begin immediately accompanying Blackwater when the firm transports U.S. diplomatic personnel outside the fortified international zone, McCormack said.