NBC News is reporting that the preliminary report from a joint U.S.-Italian team investigating the shooting of Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena and intelligence agent Nicola Calipari has cleared the U.S soldiers of any wrongdoing.
Intelligence agent Calipari had just negotiated Sgrena’s release from Iraqi kidnappers on March 4 when the two and a driver headed for the Baghdad airport in a compact rental car.
It was dark when the Italians turned onto a ramp leading to the airport road where the U.S. military had set up a temporary checkpoint.
The investigation found the car was about 130 yards from the checkpoint when the soldiers flashed their lights as a warning to stop. But the car kept coming and, at 90 yards, warning shots were fired. At 65 yards, when the car failed to stop, the soldiers used lethal force – a machine gun burst that killed Calipari and wounded Sgrena and the driver.
The investigation failed, however, to resolve one critical dispute: The Americans claim the car was racing toward the checkpoint at about 50 miles per hour, the Italians say it was traveling at a much slower speed.
In Italy, agent Calipari was given a state funeral, but the investigation found he himself may have committed a fatal error. He reportedly chose not to coordinate his movements with the U.S. military for fear it would jeopardize his efforts to free the Italian hostage.The details of the investigation match the military’s version of events, and contradict the many differing versions of the the story that Sgrena has offered.
Update: Italy and the U.S. Said Disagree Over Investigation Into Shooting of Italian Agent in Iraq [AP/ABC]