Alvin Krongard Resigns
Wall Street Journal (2007-11-16) August Cole
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By AUGUST COLE
November 16, 2007 6:23 p.m.
WASHINGTON—Blackwater Worldwide announced that Alvin "Buzzy" Krongard has resigned from the company's advisory board after mounting criticism from Democratic lawmakers threatened to intensify scrutiny of the company and Krongard's brother, the State Department's Inspector General.
On Wednesday, Howard Krongard, the State Department's inspector general since 2005, recused himself from any investigations involving Blackwater. His decision came after it was disclosed during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that Alvin Krongard had recently joined Blackwater's advisory board. Howard Krongard and his office had been in the crosshairs of Rep. Henry Waxman's committee staff for its investigations of Blackwater and other issues related to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
Alvin Krongard's resignation shows that the company has had to bow to criticism and outside political pressure at a time when there is criticism of its work in Iraq protecting American diplomats with hired guards. The company was involved in a September 16 shooting that left 17 Iraqis dead and is currently being investigated by the FBI. The Iraqi government, in response to the shooting, has intensified pressure on all private security companies working in Iraq and is trying to change laws so that they could be held accountable in Iraqi courts.
In a statement announcing the resignation, Blackwater founder and chairman Erik Prince said that there had been no allegations of impropriety lodged against Alvin Krongard. "It's a real shame in this country when honorable men and private companies are presumed guilty based on politicized allegations, even while investigations are underway," said Mr. Prince.
The controversy surfaced in a congressional committee hearing on Wedneday when Howard Krongard initially denied that his brother was involved with Blackwater. During a break in the hearing, however, Howard Krongard telephoned his brother. When he returned he announced that his brother did have a relationship with Blackwater, and Howard Krongard said he would recuse himself from any Blackwater investigations.
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