Blackwater Investigator's Brother Has Ties to Firm

State Dept. official steps aside after admitting "ugly rumors" are true
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2007 8:17 PM CST
A private contractor gestures to their colleagues flying over in a helicopter as they secure the scene of a roadside bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq in this Tuesday, July 5, 2005 file photo. A top aide to...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The State Department’s top official investigating Blackwater withdrew from the probe today after a dramatic admission that his brother has links to the private security contractor. At a congressional hearing, Howard Krongard initially called the alleged ties “ugly rumors,” but after a recess during which he called his brother, the independent internal investigator recused himself from the probe, Reuters reports.

The admission thwarted GOP attempts to defend Krongard. One Republican told him his brother, an ex-CIA official, has done him “tremendous damage.” Krongard became entangled in the Blackwater investigation after some of his staffers accused him of impeding probes into waste, fraud, and abuse in Iraq, and said he threatened them with retaliation if they cooperated with the congressional probe.