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Howard J. Krongard

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Howard J. "Cookie" Krongard was sworn in May 2, 2005, as Inspector General for the U.S. Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors.[1] Krongard has been accused of "repeatedly interfer[ing] with investigations into fraud and abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, including security defects at the new United States Embassy in Baghdad."[2]

Since September 18, 2007, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has "accused Krongard both of quashing numerous inquiries[3] into corruption in Iraq and retaliating against employees[4][5] who alerted committee staff to the problem." Additionally, the National Journal reports that the FBI "wants to ask Krongard's former employees some questions" about his activities.[6]

Krongard's brother, A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard, was formerly the executive director at the Central Intelligence Agency "(its number three position--he was replaced with the infamous Dusty Foggo)." Buzzy Krongard "worked alongside Cofer Black, now Blackwater's vice chairman, who was director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center until 2002. After his tenure at the CIA, Cofer Black worked at the State Department as its Ambassador-at-Large — a roving ambassador — for counterterrorism, before going to work at Blackwater in February 2005."[7]

On November 14, 2007 Howard Krongard abruptly recused himself on all matters relating to Blackwater after a congressional panel confronted him with evidence that his brother is serving on a Blackwater advisory board. [1]


Accusations

In his 14-page letter,[8] on September 18, 2007, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wrote: "One consistent element in these allegations 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." Waxman "invited" Krongard to "respond to the accusations at a committee hearing" on October 16. 2007.[2]

Seven current and former employees of the IG's office have offered damning testimony about Krongard's frequent, partisan, and improper interference into investigations. These include the former Assistant IG for Investigations, John DeDona, and his Deputy, Ralph McNamara, both of whom resigned after Krongard 'halted or impeded investigations undertaken by their office.' They've also given Waxman plenty of documentation, including some extremely embarrassing inter-office emails among investigators who resented Krongard's abuse of his office.

"The Committee got this damning testimony after Krongard had testified to the Committee on July 26, [2007,][9] trying to justify his own actions and particularly his own investigation into the construction of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad."[10]

"One facet of Mr. Waxman's inquiry reportedly involves Blackwater USA, the security company that was banned by the Iraqi government from working in the country after a shooting on [September 16, 2007,] that left eight Iraqis dead." Waxman told Krongard that "he had been accused of impeding an investigation of a security company suspected of 'illegally smuggling weapons into Iraq.' The Associated Press reported[11] that the unnamed company was Blackwater."[2]

Another accusation is that Krongard "interfered with an investigation of Kenneth Y. Tomlinson,[12] at the time the head of Voice of America and a close associate of Karl Rove, President Bush's former political adviser", by "passing information about the inquiry" to Tomlinson.[2]

In 2006, "State Department investigators determined [that] Tomlinson had used his office to run a 'horse racing operation' and had improperly put a friend on the payroll." Tomlinson, "who resigned in January [2007], has denied doing anything improper."[2]

Profiles

Prior to joining the Bush administration, between 1996 and 2005, Krongard was Of Counsel at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and a "Director of The National Legal Center for the Public Interest, Washington, DC; a Public Director of the Pacific Exchange (which also acts as Self Regulatory Organization for the Pacific Exchange and the Archipelago Exchange) and Member of its Audit Committee and Regulatory Oversight Committee; a Director of PCX Holdings (demutualized parent company of Pacific Exchange); Director, PCX Equities, Inc. and Member of its Business Conduct Committee; a Member, Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on Non-Lethal Weapons; and the U.S. Representative to the International Lacrosse Federation."[1]

Biographical chronology

The following chronology is according to an Associated Press biography of Howard J. Krongard published September 18, 2007.[13]

Resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 About: Howard J. Krongard, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of State.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 David Stout, "State Dept. Official Accused of Blocking Inquiry," New York Times, September 18, 2007.
  3. Paul Kiel, "Waxman: State Investigator Blocked Corruption Probes," TPMmuckraker, September 18, 2007.
  4. Faiz Shakir, "State Dept. IG Retaliates Against Whistleblowers, Threatens ‘Their Jobs And Careers’," Think Progress, September 28, 2007.
  5. Spencer Ackerman, "Waxman: State IG Threatened To Fire Whistleblowers," TPMmuckraker, September 28, 2007.
  6. Spencer Ackerman, "Cookie Crumbling: FBI Investigates State Dept IG," TPMmuckraker, October 19, 2007.
  7. Nick Schwellenbach, "What a tangled web we weave," Project on Government Oversight, September 19, 2007.
  8. Document: Letter from Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to Howard J. Krongard, Inspector General, U.S. Department of State, September 18, 2007.
  9. Testimony by Howard Krongard before the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, July 26, 2007.
  10. smitheus, "Waxman blasts State Dept. IG for obstructing investigations," Inconvenient News, September 18, 2007.
  11. Richard Lardner, "Who Watches US Security Firms in Iraq?" Associated Press, September 19, 2007.
  12. Geneva Collins, "Tomlinson’s other job: State Dept. looks into his BBG role," Current, November 21, 2005.
  13. "Krongard Biography," Associated Press, September 18, 2007. Also posted by ABC News.

External articles

External resources