Blackhawk Incident Legal Questions

NSIAD-96-91R: Published: Feb 1, 1996. Publicly Released: Feb 1, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed payments to the survivors of foreign victims of the downing of 2 U.S. helicopters in Iraq in April 1994. GAO noted that: (1) the $100,000 payments to the foreign victims' survivors were a humanitarian gesture conveying U.S. regret over the incident; (2) the payments were discretionary payments authorized by the Secretary of Defense and were not subject to certain claims acts or their implementing regulations; (3) failure to make similar payments to the American victims' survivors was not a violation of the Civil Rights Act which did not apply in the instant circumstances; and (4) there was no evidence that the Department of Defense improperly released any information regarding the life insurance of one American victim.

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