The State Department says limited immunity has been routinely offered to private security contractors.
But the State Department rejects concern that immunization given some security guards for North Carolina-based Blackwater USA jeopardizes the prosecution on charges they killed 17 civilians in a shooting in Baghdad last month.
Department spokesman Sean McCormack says it's up to Justice Department investigators to decide if they have a case. Blackwater
says the guards acted in self-defense.
The immunity deals have delayed the U.S. criminal inquiry into the shootings. Senior law enforcement officials say the legal protections Moyock-based Blackwater got from the State Department could derail any prosecution if investigators are unable to come up with additional evidence from the scene.