The Oversight Committee is currently holding a hearing, "Assessing the State Department Inspector General." Inspector General Howard J. Krongard will testify. On September 28th, Chairman Henry Waxman wrote to Krongard on allegations that he was using intimidation of employees to block the Committee's investigation of issues in Iraq, and on October 12th Chairman Waxman was joined by several other Chairmen in a letter to Secretary Rice about endemic corruption in Iraq and the refusal of State Department officials to answer basic questions about the impact of corruption within the Maliki government on the chances of success in Iraq.
In this clip, Rep. Eilijah Cummings questions Krongard on evidence that his brother is on the board of Blackwater, which Krongard disputes but agrees would call for his recusal on Blackwater if true.
Transcript below the fold
Rep. Cummings: "This is a September 5th email that Eric Prince sent to your brother. It says, quote: ‘Welcome and thank you for accepting the invitation to be a member of the board.' My question is this: did you know that your brother, Buzzy Krongard, was on Blackwater's advisory board?"
Krongard: "Sir, I dispute that, as far as I know that is not correct. This is, you asked me to comment on this letter. Sir, my brother served honorably as a captain in the United States Marine Corps. He served as the Executive Director of the CIA. He has been involved in a lot of activities involving security. So it's no surprise that someone like Erik Prince would invite him to continue to support 'security, peace, and freedom.' There is nothing in here that suggests that my brohter accepted this July 26th invitation, what you have now shown me is an email form Erik Prince to a large number of people that I assume were all people who received this. I don't see anything in here that suggests my brother accepted or attended, and as far as I know he did neither."
Rep. Cummings: "Well let me go on, then, because I do think the letter indicates that he did accept. But Mr. Krongard, this is one of the most high profile issues facing the State Department, and your testimony today is that you didn't know your own brother is on the Blackwater board. I find that very difficult to believe - let me ask you this, Mr. Krongard, did you know where your brother is this week, do you know?"
Krongard: "No sir, I don't."
Rep. Cummings: "According to this email, Mr. Prince invited your brother to be at a board meeting to discuss strategic planning. And this meeting is taking place right now, in Williamsburg, Virginia, this week as we speak. Staff contacted the hotel to speak to your brother and the hotel confirmed that he was scheduled to be there. Did you know that?"
Krongard: "No sir, I did not."
Rep. Cummings: "And so, if your brother is a board member, which you said he's not, but if he is - since I know you're sensitive to conflict - would you agree that you should recuse yourself of anything dealing with Blackwater investigations?"
Krongard: "Yes, sir. And that was why - first of all, by the nature of my brother's work, you should understand that we have never discussed his work or my work, so I had no reason to even think that he had any involvement with Blackwater. But, when these things surfaced, I called him and I asked him directly, he has told me he does have any involvement, he does not have any financial interest. If you're telling me he does absolutely I would recuse myself."
Rep. Cummings: "You will recuse yourself?"
Rep. Cummings: "Immediately?"