Blackwater Founder Denies Employees Acted Like Rogue Cowboys

The chairman of Blackwater is rejecting charges that employees of his security firm acted like rogue cowboys in Iraq and Afghanistan as they protected State Department personnel there.

Appearing before a House panel on Tuesday, Erik Prince said he thinks his staff "acted appropriately at all times."

However, lawmakers are wondering if the government is relying too heavily on private contractors who aren't accountable to the military justice system.

Panel Chairman Henry Waxman is asking whether the State Department is helping Blackwater cover-up Iraqi deaths. He said he was concerned to find that the State Department advised Blackwater on how much to pay the family of an Iraqi security guard who was shot by a drunken Blackwater employee.

The FBI is investigating Blackwater personnel for their role in a shootout last month that left 11 Iraqis dead. Waxman said he agreed not to ask for specifics on that incident during Tuesday’s hearing, because it's still being investigated.

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