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More Oversight For Private Security Firms In Iraq

Private security firms working in Iraq would face more U.S. military oversight under a new agreement between the Pentagon and State Department.

A Defense Department spokesman says a meeting to complete the
agreement is scheduled between Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon
England and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte.

The move to tighten military oversight follows Iraqi outrage
over a September shooting in which 17 Iraq civilians were killed in
a Baghdad square. Blackwater has said its guards were protecting
diplomats under attack, but Iraqi investigators concluded the
shooting was unprovoked.

The new accord is to include rules for coordinating movement of
the civilian security convoys and the reporting and investigation
of any incident they're involved in, as well as the question of
when they are allowed to use force.


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