The State Department's top investigator and his brother will both be asked to testify to a committee of Congress about the brother's link to the Blackwater security firm, the committee announced on Friday.
Rep. Henry Waxman decided to call State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard and his brother A.B. Buzzy to the same hearing after they separately gave the committee conflicting accounts about Buzzy Krongard's ties with Blackwater, which protects U.S. diplomats and other State Department officials in Iraq.
Earlier this week, Howard Krongard recused himself from probes into Blackwater after saying that he had just discovered -- during a break in a hearing of Waxman's government oversight panel -- that his brother had attended a meeting of Blackwater's advisory board.
Howard Krongard, who acts as the State Department's independent internal investigator, had begun the hearing by denying the ugly rumors that his brother was associated with the company, which is under scrutiny for a September 16 shooting incident in Baghdad in which 17 Iraqis were killed.
The New York Times reported that Buzzy Krongard resigned on Friday from the Blackwater board.
A Blackwater spokeswoman did not return a phone call to Reuters seeking comment.
Waxman said in a memo to his committee members on Friday that Buzzy Krongard now has called committee staff to assert that his brother was previously aware of his Blackwater ties.
Yesterday, in response to a letter from the committee, Buzzy Krongard called the Committee staff and said that contrary to Howard Krongard's testimony, he did tell his brother about his relationship with Blackwater, Waxman said in the memo sent to his committee members.
The information from Buzzy Krongard raises serious questions about the veracity of Howard Krongard's testimony before the committee. To help answer these questions, I expect the committee to hold a hearing immediately after the Thanksgiving recess at which Howard Krongard and Buzzy Krongard will be invited to testify.
Waxman's committee is examining allegations by current and former officials in Krongard's office that the inspector general thwarted probes into waste, fraud and abuse in Iraq, including alleged arms smuggling by Blackwater.
Waxman, a California Democrat, has accused Krongard of interfering in investigations to protect the State Department and White House from political embarrassment -- a charge Krongard denies.
Buzzy Krongard is a former executive director of the CIA. Howard Krongard is a former general counsel at the auditing firm Deloitte & Touche.
Neither the State Department nor Howard Krongard's office had any immediate comment on Waxman's memo.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Arshad Mohammed; editing by Mohammad Zargham)