USA Today : House panel raises new allegation in letter to Blackwater CEO

Friday, October 19, 2007

House panel raises new allegation in letter to Blackwater CEO

The House Government Reform Committee continues to conduct an intensive investigation into Blackwater USA, the security company whose guards have been implicated by the Iraqi government in a Sept. 16 shooting incident that left a number of civilians dead in Baghdad.

The latest letter from Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to CEO Erik Prince asks about a heretofore unknown aspect of the Democrat's expansive probe: According to a military official who has contacted the Committee, in 2005 Blackwater attempted to transport at least two Iraqi military aircraft out of lraq. The official stated that the Iraqi Ministry of Defense attempted to reclaim the aircraft, but that Blackwater would not comply. Please provide the Committee with the following information: ... All documents related to efforts by Blackwater to remove Iraqi aircraft from Iraq and the current whereabouts of such aircraft.

We asked Anne Tyrrell, Prince's spokeswoman, to respond to this part of the letter. We'll update this posting if she responds to our e-mail.

We also left a message for Karen Lightfoot, the committee's press secretary, and will update this posting if she provides any additional information about the "military aircraft" referred to in the letter.

Update at 6:58 p.m. ET: Tyrrell, the Blackwater spokeswoman, says she can't comment because the questions involve information requested by the oversight committee.