Employees in the State Department's office of the Inspector General have sought whistleblower status and are speaking out about conduct of IG Howard Krongard, charging he has blocked investigations into contractor fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan, censored reports, and refused to cooperate with federal authorities pursuing criminal investigations.
Congressman Henry Waxman, chairman of the House committee on oversight and government reform, informed Krongard of the development in a sharply accusatory 14-page letter that details complaints about the IG's conduct, and invites him to respond at an October 16 hearing on the Hill.
Waxman charges, "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."
The letter outlines seven major allegations against Krongard:
--Although the State Department has expended over $3.6 billion on contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, you refused to send any investigators to those countries to pursue investigations into wasteful spending or procurement fraud and have concluded no fraud investigations relating to the contracts.
--You prevented your investigators from cooperating with a Justice Department investigation into waste, fraud, and abuse relating to the new U.S. Embassy in Iraq and followed highly irregular procedures in exonerating the prime contractor, First Kuwaiti Trading Company, of charges of labor trafficking.
--You prevented your investigators from seizing evidence that they believed would have implicated alarge State Department contractor in procurement fraud in Afghanistan.
--You impeded efforts by your investigators to cooperate with a Justice Department probe into allegations that a large private security contractor was smuggling weapons into lraq.
--You interfered with an on-going investigation into the conduct of Kenneth Tomlinson, the head of Voice of America and a close associate of Karl Rove, by passing information about the inquiry to Mr. Tomlinson.
--You censored portions of inspection reports on embassies so that critical information on security vulnerabilities was dropped from classified annexes and not disclosed to Congress.
--You rejected audits of the State Department's financial statements that documented accounting concerns and refused to publish them until points critical of the Department had been removed.
On top of it all, Krongard's subordinates have complained that he created a hostile work environment by randomly chastising the employees without warning, causing "people come to work every day fearful."
Waxman's 14-page letter includes much detail about the specific allegations and deserves a full read. waxman_letter.pdf