Thursday, November 15, 2007
State Department Inspector General Howard "Cookie" Krongard appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee looking into his conduct investigating fraud and abuse in Iraq contracting, and his oversight of security contractor Blackwater Worldwide. At the outset, Committee Chairman Henry Waxman dropped the news that Cookie Krongard's brother, A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard, was invited by Blackwater in July 2007 to join its Advisory Board, a position that would pay him an honorarium of $3,500 per meeting, which he could designate to the charity of his choice (see invitation letter here). Buzzy Krongard is a former executive director of the CIA, and agreed to join the Advisory Board shortly after receiving the invitation. According to news reports, Buzzy Krongard participated in meetings at Blackwater just a few days earlier, apparently unknown to his brother.
Cookie Krongard initially denied knowing about his brother's Blackwater connection, but then after a break in the testimony he said that he had spoken with Buzzy Krongard a month earlier about his involvement in Blackwater. Cookie Krongard then announced that he was recusing himself from all IG investigations of Blackwater -- no great surprise there. Denying that his brother's ties to Blackwater had any effect on his office's investigations of Blackwater, Cookie Krongard went with the tried-and-true defense: "I'm not my brother's keeper." That may be true, but it sure doesn't look good to "correct" testimony after a break and have to explain that your brother was working for a company your office is investigating. An AP story (here) discusses the hearing.
And what are we to make of the Krongard family's choice of monikers for its members -- Cookie and Buzzy? (ph)