Kerry And Casey Want Blackwater Out Of Iraq

Democratic Sens. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts and Robert P. Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania reiterated their call for the State Department to follow the recommendation of its own inspector general and stop using Blackwater Worldwide for private security services in Iraq.

The renewed push for ousting Blackwater comes after the release to Congress Wednesday of an inspector general’s report that says the Iraqi government might yank the security firm’s license to operate in Iraq.

The firm has been under intense scrutiny for its role in the 2007 shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.

“The era of Blackwater must finally end. The incoming Obama administration can proceed with the knowledge that even the Bush administration acknowledges that outsourcing overseas security to private firms like Blackwater is a mistake,” said Kerry, who will be the next chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“It will benefit the incoming administration to have reassurance from the State Department that Blackwater’s contract should not be renewed,” Kerry added. “But it’s disheartening that it took 15 months from a tragedy in Baghdad for the Bush administration to reach an overdue conclusion.”

In July, Kerry wrote two letters to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about the use of Blackwater.