I just got off the phone with Terry Heide, the congressional liaison for State Department Inspector General Howard "Cookie" Krongard. Earlier today, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) wrote
to Krongard alleging that Heide had threatened two IG investigators, Ron Militana and Brian Rubendall, after they agreed to go on the record to Waxman's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee with accounts of Krongard stifling corruption investigations. "I categorically deny any and all of it," Heide said. "I did not intimidate them or threaten retaliation. I don't have the power to fire people."
According to Waxman's letter, Heide allegedly told Militana and Rubendall that they should only cooperate with Republican staffers on the committee -- a charge she says isn't true. "I am a career civil servant," Heide said, not a partisan appointee.
The letter's account comes from Militana's notes of the September 25 conversation with Heide and a lawyer from the department counsel's office. Militana alleges that Heide told him and Rubendall that if they cooperated with the investigation, "ÂYou have no protection against reprisal. You have no whistleblower protections. Howard could retaliate and you would have no recourse.Â ... ÂHoward can fire you. It would affect your ability to get another job.Â"
In response, Heide told me that "First and foremost, I told them to cooperate" with the investigation. When asked to explain how Militana could say that Heide had instructed them only to cooperate with the GOP staff, she replied "I can't." According to Heide, "there was a lot more said [at the September 25 meeting] that they did not include" to Waxman's committee, but she said she would not elaborate, since "these individuals have filed for whistleblower protection."
Before ending our conversation, Heide said that Waxman's office did not contact her for her side of the story before releasing today's letter accusing her of threatening Militana and Rubendall. "Waxman has hurt me personally and professionally," Heide said.
Waxman could not immediately be reached for comment.