WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has approved changes to improve accountability of contract employees working abroad for the U.S. government.
The changes were made based on the initial assessment she received regarding private security firm Blackwater USA, which supports the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday.
U.S. military reports said guards from Blackwater appeared to have used grenade launchers and machine guns in the Sept. 16 incident in Baghdad that left at least 14 dead and 18 wounded, the Washington Post reported. The incident sparked several high-level investigations.
Rice directed that Bureau of Diplomatic Security special agents accompany Blackwater protective details.
Rice also directed the Bureau to increase "our capability to review material after a reported incident," including recording radio transmissions, mounting video cameras on security vehicles and archiving electronic tracking data.
Rice also directed expansion of existing communications links to U.S. military operating in the same area.
"Part of a good management system is to have very good set of rules and procedures in place," McCormack said, so when personnel stray from the procedures, "there's accountability."
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