White House: Contractor bill would have ‘intolerable’ effects

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Bush administration said Wednesday it opposes a bill that would bring private military contractors overseas under U.S. law, warning it would have “unintended and intolerable consequences” for national security.

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An Iraqi woman walks past a car damaged in the September 16 incident involving Blackwater.

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var CNN_ArticleChanger = new CNN_imageChanger(‘cnnImgChngr’,’/2007/WORLD/meast/10/03/iraq.contractors/imgChng/p1-0.init.exclude.html’,1,1); //CNN.imageChanger.load(‘cnnImgChngr’,’imgChng/p1-0.exclude.html’);Its sponsor, North Carolina Democratic Rep. David Price, said the bill would clear up questions such as those raised by last month’s Baghdad shootings involving contractors from the U.S. security firm Blackwater USA.

Price introduced the measure in January, and the Judiciary Committee approved the bill in August.

The House of Representatives was expected to begin debate on the bill Wednesday afternoon, with a vote tentatively scheduled Thursday morning.

But the White House, in a formal statement of policy, said the measure would overburden the military, overstretch the FBI, intrude on prosecutorial decisions and extend federal jurisdiction overseas in ways that would be “impossible or unwise.”

“The administration welcomes the opportunity to discuss these important issues further with Congress,” the statement said.

The bill would state that contractors working for the U.S. government overseas are subject to the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, which allows American courts to prosecute crimes committed in a war zone overseas.

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