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Last May, I filed a story saying that Stuart Bowen Jr., the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), was under investigation himself. Bowen is charged with uncovering misspending of Iraqi and U.S. funds. My story, based on whistleblower complaints that I had reviewed, said SIGIR employees had charged that Bowen’s office had misspent federal money and alleged a number of other abuses by Bowen and a top aide.
Today, a front-page story in the Washington Post said that employee allegations had “prompted four government probes into [SIGIR], including an investigation by the FBI and federal prosecutors into the agency’s financial practices and claims of e-mail monitoring… Federal prosecutors have presented evidence of alleged wrongdoing to a grand jury in Virginia, which has subpoenaed SIGIR for thousands of pages of financial documents, contracts, personnel records and correspondence, several sources familiar with the probe said.”
SIGIR has done good work digging up corruption in Iraq and some observers have wondered whether the White House had targeted the agency in retaliation. We’ll have to see where the investigations lead, but it’s hard to see Bowen being the victim of a vendetta by the Bush Administration, even if his reports on Iraq-related corruption did prove embarrassing. Formerly a Texas lawyer, Bowen worked for George Bush for eight years before being appointed Inspector General, both at the White House and at the Texas governor’s office.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”