Today’s Must Read

State Department Inspector General Howard “Cookie” Krongard’s new strategy to get out of a possible perjury investigation? Begging.

It turns out Krongard has retained a criminal defense lawyer named Barbara van Gelder. (Maybe for the perjury fight, maybe because of the FBI’s recent parley with Cookie’s subordinates.) Van Gelder wrote to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) on Saturday to ask the House oversight committee chairman to cancel an upcoming hearing on whether Krongard lied to the committee about what he knew of his brother’s (since-renounced) position on Blackwater’s advisory board. According to van Gelder, the committee would be doing little more than interfering in an unseemly family feud: “There is no legitimate purpose to be gained by publicly pitting two brothers against each other.”

And yet she makes it so tempting. Van Gelder provided what she describes as Krongard’s notes of his crucial phone conversation with his brother Buzzy on Halloween. Buzzy says he told Cookie he was joining the Blackwater board during that conversation. Van Gelder says that’s not so, and Cookie has evidence to prove it. Take it away, Justin:

A page van Gelder purports to be Howard’s contemporaneous notes on the conversation appear to indicate Buzzy Krongard said he had no financial ties to Blackwater and would not take the board position he had been offered.

“No financial interest whatsoever,” the alleged notes read. The word “no” is underlined. “Was on short list for Advisory Board but is not taking it,” the document states.

But, she argues, Waxman shouldn’t seek to resolve the contradiction between the two accounts — one of which was administered under oath, and the other of which was formally reported to Congressional investigators. Van Gelder is surely worth every penny.

Oh, and if that name sounds familiar: Barbara van Gelder, an ex-federal prosecutor, was last seen representing former OMB procurement official David Safavian.