Just another example of Republicans protecting their lousy decisions -- with more lousy decisions, trying to keep the lies going until after the election:
The Bush administration repeatedly ignored corruption at the highest levels within the Iraqi government and kept secret potentially embarrassing information so as not to undermine its relationship with Baghdad, according to two former State Department employees.
Arthur Brennan, who briefly served in Baghdad as head of the department's Office of Accountability and Transparency last year, and James Mattil, who worked as the chief of staff, told Senate Democrats on Monday that their office was understaffed and its warnings and recommendations ignored.
Brennan also alleges the State Department prevented a congressional staffer visiting Baghdad from talking with staffers by insisting they were too busy. In reality, Brennan said, the staffers were watching movies at the embassy and on their computers. The staffers' workload had been cut dramatically because of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's "evisceration" of Iraq's top anti-corruption office, he said.
The State Department's policies "not only contradicted the anti-corruption mission but indirectly contributed to and has allowed corruption to fester at the highest levels of the Iraqi government," Brennan told the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.
The U.S. embassy "effort against corruption - including its new centerpiece, the now-defunct Office of Accountability and Transparency - was little more than 'window dressing,'" he added.
The Office of Accountability and Transparency, or "OAT" team, was intended to provide assistance and training to Iraq's anti-corruption agencies. It was dismantled last December, after it alleged in a draft report leaked to the media that al-Maliki's office had derailed or prevented investigations into Shiite-controlled agencies.
The draft report sparked hearings in Congress and prompted a showdown between Democrats and senior State Department officials on whether the public has a right to know the extent to which al-Maliki was involved in corruption cases.
Brennan charges the State Department never responded to his team's report, which was retroactively classified because agency officials said it could hurt bilateral relations with Iraq. Other recommendations by the group also were kept secret, including a negative assessment of Iraq's Joint Anti-Corruption Committee, Brennan said.
Its way past time to vote these clowns out of Washington.
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