In a blistering 14-page letter
today (pdf), House oversight committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) charged that the inspector general for the State Department Howard Krongard has been actively impeding probes into waste and corruption in Iraq and elsewhere. The basic allegation, as Waxman simply puts it, is that "you believe your foremost mission is to support the Bush Administration, especially with respect to Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than act as an independent and objective check on waste, fraud, and abuse on behalf of U.S. taxpayers." In other words, Waxman is charging that he's a hack, and the worst kind, too -- one that can do real damage.
Waxman has a litany of examples
of Krongards' alleged hackishness, but one is particularly colorful.
There have been allegations that the contractor First Kuwaiti used forced labor
building the U.S. Embassy
in Baghdad. So Krongard looked into it.
Only he had a peculiar method, according to Waxman's investigation. First, he insisted on doing the report entirely by himself and shut out his staff. And instead of seeking out the source of the allegations, he allowed the contractor to choose the employees that he'd interview. He ultimately interviewed six employees.
The result? Krongard declared that he found no evidence of human trafficking.
But when Waxman sought the investigative materials that Krongard had generated in the course of his probing investigation, Krongard only turned over 20 pages total (after a subpoena from Waxman). Of those 20 pages, only six of them were Krongard's own work product -- sketchy handwritten notes from his interviews with the contractor's handpicked witnesses.
The Justice Department has since launched an investigation.
Waxman has invited Krongard to a October 16th hearing before the committee to explain himself.