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Tighter control of Blackwater seen

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Private security firms working in Iraq would face more U.S. military oversight under a new agreement between the Pentagon and State Department. A Defense Department spokesman says a meeting to complete the agreement is scheduled between Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte. The move to tighten military oversight follows Iraqi outrage over a September shooting in which 17 Iraq civilians were killed in a Baghdad square. Blackwater has said its guards were protecting diplomats under attack, but Iraqi investigators concluded the shooting was unprovoked. The new accord is to include rules for coordinating movement of the civilian security convoys and the reporting and investigation of any incident they're involved in, as well as the question of when they are allowed to use force. On the Net: Defense Department www.defenselink.mil (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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