By Jason Leopold

A federal judge in Washington, DC on Thursday dismissed criminal charges against five Blackwater guards involved in the massacre of 14 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in September 2007, an incident that led to a public outcry over the government’s increasing reliance on contractors in the battlefield.

US District Court Judge Ricardo Urbina ruled that federal prosecutors improperly used statements the men gave to State Department investigators under a promise of immunity to secure indictments against them.

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