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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:
Commentary — November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm
The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Average speed of Heinz ketchup, from the mouth of an upended bottle, in miles per year:
After studying the fall of 64,000 individual raindrops, scientists found that some small raindrops fall faster than they ought to.
The Playboy mansion in California was bought by the heir to the Twinkie fortune, and a New Mexico man set fire to his apartment to protest his neighbors’ loud lovemaking.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”