CONTRACTORS

Blackwater Off the Hook for Manslaughter

Federal district Judge Ricardo Urbina dismissed all charges against five Blackwater security contractors who had been accused of opening fire into a Baghdad crowd and killing 17 Iraqis in 2007, citing prosecutorial misuse of evidence. Urbina said the government had overstepped its boundaries while making its case and used evidence it was not supposed to have, finding that the Justice Department's case was constructed from "statements compelled under a threat of job loss in a subsequent criminal prosecution." The incident led the government to place stricter limits on the use of Blackwater—now called "Xe"—and other security contractors.