by David Phinney
Friday April 19th 2024



Under Sworn Testimony: Misleading Statements about U.S. Embassy in Baghdad

by David Phinney

Oct. 6, 2007 — Two months ago, a top US State Department official in charge of embassy construction gave misleading statements under sworn testimony about the new US embassy in Baghdad. He claimed that it would be completed on budget and on time. Now numerous news reports say that the project’s completion will be delayed for months.
Sunday’s Washington Post piled on with its own story:

The massive U.S. embassy under construction in Baghdad could cost $144 million more than projected and will open months behind schedule because of poor planning, shoddy workmanship, internal disputes and last-minute changes sought by State Department officials, according to U.S. officials and a department document provided to Congress.

This remarkable turn of events directly contradicts July 27 sworn testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by the State Department’s Charles E. Williams, director of overseas buildings operations:

“We have received numerous accolades as to the extremely high quality of construction,” Williams told the committee. “It is among the best…. We are slated to complete the project in September of this year and personnel can begin to move into offices and residences shortly thereafter.”

Interestingly enough, Republicans sought to make political mileage in discounting sworn testimony by two witnesses, John Owens and Rory Mayberry during that same hearing about the embassy project. Both witnesses made allegations of faulty construction, worker smuggling and other abuses at the embassy project.

One Republican called Mayberry a professional “whistleblower.” Another threatened to press charges against Owens for meandering on his answers about whether or not he had filed a fraud claim over shoddy construction at the embassy (Owens had just traveled 24 hours from Cambodia and he was not allowed to comment on the matter by his legal counsel).

Will Republicans now be equally hostile towards Williams? (Hey, didn’t the Republican-controlled Congress impeach a president on a less consequential issue?)


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One Response to “Under Sworn Testimony: Misleading Statements about U.S. Embassy in Baghdad”

  1. Manuel says:

    Iraq’s political lederas what us to stay there. then let ‘em for the service.Something like $1 million dollar to the family of every member of the U.S. military killed in addition to the cost of our army being there. A family of a criminal hoodlum justifiably killed by police gets more than that from a (usually) bankrupt American city. We are talking about our brave boys and girls in uniform, well trained, with expected life earnings well above $1M.I say charge the barbarians $10M per murdered soldier. Charge them fully-loaded cost of army (operational expenses plus R&D plus the rest).@Mead:@Kenny: You’d have a stronger case if they’d invited us over in the first place. What invitation has to do with the price of halal pork in Baghdad?Corrupt tribal rulers of Iraq Islamic democracy want protection against competing thugs.An entirely reasonable wish.We have some interests in that smelly pit of a nation.We can do what we need to do by withdrawing to Kurdistan, guarantying a de-facto independent state for Kurds and wearily watching the stinky region from there.With Turkey going Iran Islamic Republic route, it is only a matter of time (5 years) before US bases will have to be shut down there. Kurds are a tiny bit more advanced than their Muslim brethren around them and will be grateful for protection. Baghdad can revert to their preferred mode of living with a brutal dictator who on a clear day could see USAF bases in Kurdistan.In case if message is not received, a short 3 day bombing campaign would change dictator’s perceptions.

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