Saturday, April 21, 2007

Blumenthal Unloads on Wolfowitz

Sidney Blumenthal has the latest episode in the Riza-Wolfowitz Affair, which results in Blumenthal calling for even more investigations. This time with national security clearance questions:

...Wolfowitz's World Bank scandal over his girlfriend reveals many of the same qualities that created the wreckage he left in his wake in Iraq: grandiosity, cronyism, self-dealing and lying -- followed by an energetic campaign to deflect accountability. As with the war, he has retreated behind his fervent profession of good intentions to excuse himself. The ginning up of the conservative propaganda mill that once disseminated Wolfowitz's disinformation on WMD to defend him as the innocent victim of a political smear only underlines his tried-and-true methods of operation. The hollowness of his defense echoes in the thunderous absurdity of Monday's Wall Street Journal editorial: "Paul Wolfowitz, meet the Duke lacrosse team." ...

The World Bank continued to pay ...[Riza's] salary, which was raised by $60,000 to $193,590 annually, more than the $183,500 paid to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and all of it tax-free. Moreover, Wolfowitz got the State Department to agree that the ratings of her performance would automatically be "outstanding." ..

[At her new job at the ]State Department officials familiar with the details of this matter confirmed to me that Shaha Ali Riza was detailed to the State Department and had unescorted access while working for Elizabeth Cheney. Access to the building requires a national security clearance or permanent escort by a person with such a clearance. But the State Department has no record of having issued a national security clearance to Riza...

...officials stress that the department would never issue a clearance to a non-U.S. citizen as part of a contractual requisition. Issuing a national security clearance to a foreign national under instructions from a Pentagon official would constitute a violation of the executive orders governing clearances, they say.

Given these circumstances, the inspector general of the Defense Department should be ordered to investigate how Shaha Ali Riza was issued a Pentagon security clearance. And the inspector general of the State Department should investigate who ordered Riza's building pass and whether there was a Pentagon credentials transmittal letter.

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