Saturday, September 29, 2007

State Dept. IG Retaliates Against Whistleblowers, Threatens ‘Their Jobs And Careers’

Approximately 10 days ago, House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) wrote to State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard to report allegations from seven IG employees that he “has repeatedly interfered with on-going investigations to protect the State Department and the White House from political embarrassment.”

Krongard has thwarted investigations into waste, fraud and abuse in Iraq. He has also “refused to cooperate with an investigation into alleged weapons smuggling by a large, unidentified State Department contractor.”

Today, Waxman sent Krongard another disturbing letter that reveals the State Department Inspector General has been retaliating against the whistleblowers. Waxman writes:

This week, several current employees in your office — including two who have agreed to go on the record — informed the Committee that your senior staff attempted to coerce them not to cooperate with the committee’s inquiry and threatened their jobs and careers.

In the letter, Waxman explains that one week after he informed Krongard of the accusations being made by employees within his department, the whistleblowers were accosted by one of Krongard’s subordinates: a congressional affairs liaison who works for the State IG’s office. Here’s what one whistleblower reports that he was told:

[T]he congressional liaison told him: “You have no protection against reprisal. You have no whistleblower protections. Howard could retaliate and you would have no recourse.”

If there was any doubt about whether the Inspector General has been improperly carrying out the duties of his office, he’s confirmed it with his attempts to retaliate against his own employees, at least one of whom he had previously lauded as “one of my best investigators.”

Waxman directed Krongard “to suspend all communications (other than those necessary to collect responsive documents) with employees the Committee is planning to interview.”

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