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The Pentagon wrote in 2007 that Blackwater Worldwide contractors in Iraq are not subject to U.S. civilian criminal laws, a position that undercuts the Justice Department's effort to prosecute five Blackwater security guards on manslaughter charges.
Defense contractors can be prosecuted in U.S. courts for crimes committed overseas, but because of a legal loophole, contractors for other agencies can face charges only if their work assignments supported the Defense Department.
Blackwater, the largest security contractor in Iraq, works for the State Department. Five of its guards face manslaughter charges for a 2007 shooting that killed 17 Iraqis.