Tumblr Icon RSS Icon

Krongard Confirms ‘Ugly Rumor’: Brother Attended Blackwater Advisory Board Meeting Yesterday

Posted on  

"Krongard Confirms ‘Ugly Rumor’: Brother Attended Blackwater Advisory Board Meeting Yesterday"

Share:

google plus icon

During today’s House Oversight Committee hearing on the performance of State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) revealed that Krongard’s brother — former CIA Executive Director A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard — sits on Blackwater USA’s board. Krongard vehemently denied the allegation, calling it an “ugly rumor”:

KRONGARD: I can tell you very frankly, I am not aware of any financial interest or position he has with respect to Blackwater. It couldn’t possibly have affected anything I’ve done, because I don’t believe it. And when these ugly rumors started recently, I specifically asked him. I do not believe it is true that he is a member of the advisory board, as you stated, and that is something I think I need to say.

During a break in today’s hearing, Krongard called his brother and confirmed that the “ugly rumor” was in fact true, and promised to recuse himself from any Blackwater investigations:

KRONGARD: This is in response to something I think you found important. During the break I did contact my brother. I reached him at home — he is not at the hotel. But I learned that he had been at the advisory board meeting yesterday. I had not been aware of that, and I want to state on the record right now that I hereby recuse myself from any matters having to do with Blackwater.

WAXMAN: I see. You indicated you had called your brother to ask him earlier whether he was on the board. He told you he wasn’t.

KRONGARD: Well that was about six weeks ago, and I was not aware — and this board meeting happened yesterday, and I found out just during the break that he had in fact attended yesterday.

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/11/krongardadmits.320.240.flv]

One of the charges against Krongard is that he blocked a House investigation into whether weapons illegally smuggled into Iraq by Blackwater employees were then “sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.” In a Sept. 18 letter, Waxman revealed that Krongard had ordered his investigators to “IMMEDIATELY” stop cooperating with federal investigators.

Blackwater is a State Department contractor and has received hundreds of millions of dollars of work from the government. The Bush administration has repeatedly rushed to the defense of Blackwater after the deadly September shootout that killed 17 Iraqi civilians, even promising legal immunity to the company’s guards. It also awarded a new $92 million contract to Blackwater just weeks after the shooting.

UPDATE: Spencer Ackerman spoke with Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell, who said that she didn’t know the exact date of when Buzzy joined the Blackwater board, but said “it would be accurate to say that he was invited in late July and accepted soon after.”

Transcript:

KRONGARD: This is in response to something I think you found important. During the break I did contact my brother. I reached him at home — he is not at the hotel. But I learned that he had been at the advisory board meeting yesterday. I had not been aware of that, and I want to state on the record right now that I hereby recuse myself from any matters having to do with Blackwater.

WAXMAN: I see. You indicated you had called your brother to ask him earlier whether he was on the board. He told you he wasn’t.

KRONGARD: Well that was about six weeks ago, and I was not aware — and this board meeting happened yesterday, and I found out just during the break that he had in fact attended yesterday.

REP. STEPHEN LYNCH (D-MA): Thank you Mr. Chairman and ranking member. I had some other questions about construction at the embassy but I’m going to let those go. Mr. Krongard, this change in your testimony that you’re describing now, this discussion with your brother, is troubling and it raises a number of questions. I just want to be straight here. Earlier you testified that you had spoken with your brother and he assured you that he was not on Blackwater’s board. That was the testimony you made earlier.

And now you testify that he changed his mind but he didn’t bother to tell you, and I have some questions about the timing of all these conversations.

« »

By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the ThinkProgress Privacy Policy and agree to the ThinkProgress Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as applicable, which can be found here.