Blackwater USA, the State Department’s largest personal security contractor in Iraq, is set to be hit with a multi-million dollar fine for shipping automatic weapons to that country without the necessary permits, reports McClatchy. Some of the weapons are believed to have ended up on Iraq’s black market.
The State Department has been looking into whether Blackwater employees shipped weapons hidden in shrink-wrapped pallets from the companies headquarters in North Carolina to Iraq. No criminal charges have been filed in the case.
But according to one official, the department found that Blackwater shipped 900 weapons to Iraq without the paperwork required by arms export control regulations.
Since the weapons case became public in September 2007, Blackwater has received $1.2 billion in federal contracts, by one estimate.
The company is also being investigated by the Justice Department in connection with the killing last year of 17 Iraqi civilians.