Private Contractors Like Blackwater To Be Probed

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has dispatched a fact-finding team to probe the Pentagon's oversight of its private contractors in Iraq.

The Pentagon also said it has been developing additional
guidance on how the Uniform Code of Military Justice can be used to
discipline contractors. Prior to October 2006 the code did not
apply to contractors.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Gates began asking
questions about the military's relationship with its contractors
after a Sept. 16 shooting involving North Carolina-based contractor
Blackwater USA.

The Blackwater employees were protecting State Department