Did Blackwater sneak silencers into Iraq?

Blackwater employee with a silenced weapon.A Blackwater employee shows off a silencer-equipped rifle in Iraq in a photo obtained by NBC News. The picture has been digitally altered to protect the identity of the subject.

WASHINGTON – Federal agents are investigating allegations that the Blackwater USA security firm illegally exported dozens of firearms sound suppressors — commonly known as silencers — to Iraq and other countries for use by company operatives, sources close to the investigation tell NBC News.

Investigators from various federal agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the State Department and the Commerce Department, are digging into the allegations that the company exported the silencers without getting necessary export approval, according to law enforcement sources, who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity. The sources said the investigation is part of a broader examination of potential firearms and export violations.

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