Yesterday, we wrote about the letter House Government Reform and Oversight committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) sent (pdf) to State Department Inspector General Howard J. Krongard, detailing numerous alleged improprieties committed by him. Among these is the assertion that:
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. (page 2 of this pdf)
This morning, the AP's Richard Lardner moved the ball forward a bit by identifying that company--Blackwater:
Although the security company was not named in the letter, several senior administration officials confirmed it was Blackwater.
Blackwater is a very politically-connected company, as several have detailed. More specifically though, the State Dep. IG Howard Krongard's brother is A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard, who formerly was the executive director at the CIA (its number three position--he was replaced with the infamous Dusty Foggo).
In an article on the revolving door between Blackwater and the revolving door, Harper's Ken Silverstein noted:
Robert Young Pelton, author of the new book, Licensed to Kill , says that an early Blackwater contract—a secret no-bid $5.4 million deal with the CIA—came in 2002 after Prince placed a call to Buzzy Krongard, who was then the CIA's executive director.
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.
In addition to that, the parent company of Blackwater, the Prince Group, hired former Defense Department Inspector General Joseph E. Schmitz as its chief operating officer and general counsel in 2005 as he was coming under suspicion for also engaging in inappropriate acts that compromised the integrity and independence of the Pentagon Office of Inspector General. Schmitz was investigated by the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency's Integrity Committee and exonerated, though questions remain about the PCIE investigation, one source tells POGO (more on this hopefully to come).
So, Blackwater's Joseph Schmitz, who knows the ins and outs of IG investigations, works with Blackwater's Cofer Black, who worked with the brother (Buzzy Krongard)--who may have helped Blackwater out early on himself--of the Inspector General (Howard Krongard) responsible for investigating Blackwater. It's a small world indeed.
UPDATE: TPM Muckraker Spencer Ackerman flags us and adds more to the story on Blackwater's influence.
-- Nick Schwellenbach