Obama said private security firms should follow miltary codes of conduct.
CRESTON, Iowa (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said Saturday during a question and answer period that he doesn't have "much patience" for private security firms like Blackwater USA "getting paid by U.S. Tax dollars."
Blackwater USA provides protection for U.S. Diplomats in Iraq. But the Iraqi government prohibited the firm from operating after a shooting incident Sunday where, according to the Iraqi government, as many as 20 civilians were killed by gunfire from Blackwater USA contractors guarding a U.S. diplomatic convoy. The U.S. Claims the guards were responding to an attack.
"It just so happens I introduced a bill in February...that says we've got to place Blackwater and all these private security firms under the same codes of conduct and the same auditing as our U.S. military."
The Democratic presidential candidate said companies like Blackwater can be "just as damaging to our foreign policy as anybody."
"The Iraqis look at these folks as if they're Americans," he said. "They don't make the distinction between...a private security firm [and]...the U.S. Military. It's all the same to them."
TIME.com: U.S. resumes Blackwater convoys
-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch