"The New York Times" is reporting that a top manager in Iraq of the private security firm Blackwater had threatened to kill a U.S. State Department investigator for probing the company's performance.
"The Times" said U.S. Embassy officials in Baghdad had sided with Blackwater, however, and the State Department investigators were ordered to leave.
According to a State Department memo, Daniel Carroll, Blackwater's project manager in Iraq, had an argument with the lead State Department investigator, Jean Richter, and told Richter that he could kill him "and no one could or would do anything about it."
Citing an internal State Department memorandum, the newspaper said the threat came just weeks before Blackwater guards shot and killed 17 civilians in Baghdad on September 16, 2007.
Four former Blackwater employees are currently on trial in a U.S. court for the deaths in Baghdad.