Foreign Policy today follows up the New York Times’ crazy Blackwater-Iraq bombshell—the paper reported that the mercenary company’s top executive in Iraq threatened to kill a State Department investigator looking into waste and misbehavior—with a reasonable question: Why didn’t anyone look into investigator Jean Richter’s allegation, corroborated by a partner, that an American citizen had threatened to murder him for doing the official work of the United States government? And specifically, why didn’t State Department figure Patrick Kennedy—who led a review of Blackwater’s conduct in Iraq after its employees killed 17 civilians in an allegedly unprovoked massacre in Nisour Square—follow up on the allegation? Kennedy still works at State:
As under secretary for management, Kennedy holds large sway in the promotion and appointments of officials throughout the State Department. The powerful bureaucrat is responsible for a range of department operations related to human resources, budgets, facilities, consular affairs and security. It’s unclear if Kennedy’s review in 2007 simply missed the internal memo of Blackwater misconduct or whether it was suppressed.
Kennedy even told reporters that he had found “no communications from the embassy in Baghdad complaining about contractor conduct prior to the Nisour Square killings”—despite Nisour Square having happened just weeks after Richter and a partner were sent to Baghdad specifically to investigate contractor conduct. (At which point said contractor threatened to murder Richter and he was sent back to the United States for being too “disruptive.”)