by David Phinney
Thursday May 23rd 2024



Read It: ‘Suicide Is Not Painless’

New York Times columnist Frank Rich delivers a scathing analysis of Pentagon and US government-guided procurement in Iraq begins with the suicide of Charles D. Riechers, 47, the second-highest-ranking procurement officer in the United States Air Force who killed himself by running his car’s engine in his suburban Virginia garage several weeks ago.
Riechers’ job had been previously held by an officer named Darleen Druyun, who was sentenced to nine months in prison for securing jobs for herself, her daughter and her son-in-law at Boeing while favoring the company with billions of dollars of contracts. The Bush-appointed Pentagon inspector general delivered a report on Druyun to Congress was full of holes in 2005. “Specifically, black holes: dozens of the report’s passages were redacted, as were the names of many White House officials in the report’s e-mail evidence on the Boeing machinations.”
Where is that inspector general now?: Joseph Schmitz, was already heading for the exit when he delivered his redacted report. His new job would be as the chief operating officer of the Prince Group, Blackwater’s parent company.
Blackwater’s Lobbyist: Paul Behrends, who first represented the company as a partner in the now-defunct Alexander Strategy Group. That firm, founded by a former Tom DeLay chief of staff, proved ground zero in the Jack Abramoff scandals.

Alexander may be no more, but since then, in addition to Blackwater, Mr. Behrends’s clients have included a company called the First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting Company, the builder of the new American embassy in Iraq.

FYI: Paul Behrends now is a Partner with C&M Capitolink LLC, a subsidiary of Crowell & Moring, the law firm now representing First Kuwaiti. Attorneys Robert Nichols and Angela Styles, President Bush’s former procurement policy director, took First Kuwaiti’s account to the firm last year.

Rich Continues:

That Vatican-sized complex is the largest American embassy in the world. Now running some $144 million over its $592 million budget and months behind schedule, the project is notorious for its deficient, unsafe construction, some of which has come under criminal investigation. First Kuwaiti has also been accused of engaging in human trafficking to supply the labor force. But the current Bush-appointed State Department inspector –guess what — has found no evidence of any wrongdoing.
Both that inspector general, Howard Krongard, and First Kuwaiti are now in the cross hairs of Henry Waxman’s House oversight committee. Some of Mr. Krongard’s deputies have accused him of repeatedly halting or impeding investigations in a variety of fraud cases.

Here’s the column Suicide Is Not Painless.


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