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Waxman Accuses State Dept. Inspector General Of Blocking Probes

House Oversight and Government Reform and Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has accused the State Department's inspector general, Howard Krongard, of blocking several investigsations in a bid "to protect the State Department and the White House from political embarrassment."

Waxman made the allegations in a letter to Krongard today. Waxman said that "current and former employees employees of the Office of Inspector General have contacted my staff with allegations that you interfered with on-going investigations" to prevent political fallout from the probes from damaging the Bush administration.

According to Waxman, Krongard: refused to send investigators to Iraq and Afghanistan to look into allegations "of wasteful spending or procurement fraud"; blocked a Justice Department probe into the "waste, fraud and abuse" at the new U.S. embassy in Baghdad, and "followed highly irregular procedures in exonerating the prime contractor, First Kuwaiti Trading Company, of charges of labor trafficking"; "blocked the investigation and potential criminal prosecution of a large State Deparment contractor operating in Afghanistan"; "improperly tipped off" Kenneth Timlinson, head of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (parent agency for the Voice of America) and a friend of former top White House official Karl Rove, about an investigation "into allegations of misconduct" by him; did not provide Congress with information about security problems at U.S. embassies; and "weakened audit reports" of the State Department "by repeatedly requesting they be revised."

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