U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Blackwater should also be held accountable for "creating a culture that breeds this type of reckless and illegal behavior."
"These contractors could spend the rest of their lives in jail if they are convicted, but Blackwater will probably not even receive a slap on the wrist for its role in this and other incidents," Schakowsky said in a statement. "Today's indictments do nothing to solve the underlying problem of private security contractors performing critical government functions."
The bloody incident occurred in September 2007. Civilians at the scene and relatives of the dead told U.S. investigators there was no hostile fire and the shootings were unprovoked, sparking widespread outrage in Iraq over what many considered trigger-happy American security guards who shot at civilians with impunity and no fear of consequences.
Blackwater maintained its guards fired in self-defense after coming under fire as they protected a diplomatic motorcade, and some of the defense lawyers have said their clients, all former decorated members of the military in their 20's, are being used as scapegoats to quell anger at the U.S. in Iraq.