SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
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
Percentage increase in the annual number of polio cases in Pakistan since 2005:
A bowl of 4,000-year-old noodles was found in northwestern China; and a spokesman for the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that “this is the earliest empirical evidence of noodles ever found.”
A federal judge sentenced the journalist Barrett Brown to 63 months in prison for sharing a link to information stolen from the private-intelligence firm Stratfor by a hacker in 2011. “Good news!” Brown said in a statement. “They’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”