April 14, 2005
Soldiers Cleared in Sgrena Shooting
Not that we predicted this or anything. Remember, we are Sgrena central. This was a joint report, meaning the Italians seem to be on board with the findings. We will update this post later as the official report is due out sometime today. MSNBC:
Now, NBC News has learned that a preliminary report from a joint U.S.-Italian investigation has cleared the American soldiers of any wrongdoing and provides new details into the shooting.Now you'll excuse me while I go celebrate. Hat tip Seeker.
Intelligence agent Calipari had just negotiated Sgrena's release from Iraqi kidnappers on March 4 when the two and a driver headed for the Baghdad airport in a compact rental car.
It was dark when the Italians turned onto a ramp leading to the airport road where the U.S. military had set up a temporary checkpoint.
The investigation found the car was about 130 yards from the checkpoint when the soldiers flashed their lights as a warning to stop. But the car kept coming and, at 90 yards, warning shots were fired. At 65 yards, when the car failed to stop, the soldiers used lethal force â€” a machine gun burst that killed Calipari and wounded Sgrena and the driver.
Senior U.S. military officials say it took only about four seconds from the first warning to the fatal shots, but insist the soldiers acted properly under the current rules of engagement.
The investigation failed, however, to resolve one critical dispute: The Americans claim the car was racing toward the checkpoint at about 50 miles per hour, the Italians say it was traveling at a much slower speed.
In Italy, agent Calipari was given a state funeral, but the investigation found he himself may have committed a fatal error. He reportedly chose not to coordinate his movements with the U.S. military for fear it would jeopardize his efforts to free the Italian hostage.
Boughyah notices that WaPo, NYT, LA Times passing on the story. Is this true?