Monday, December 17, 2007

Toil and trouble

And Ive got no defense for it
The heat is too intense for it
What good would common sense for it do

cause its witchcraft, wicked witchcraft

-- Frank Sinatra




Stuart Bowen was "tasked" by Congress to do something about all the corruption in post-invasion Iraq, particularly involving US money. A cynic might have thought that this was just another political stunt to hide real issues under the bushel basket of committee reporting. Bush, for whom Bowen had previously worked, probably hoped for some kind of whitehouse whitewash. But Bowen actually began to take note of all the very real big bucks being taken out in big buckets, unaccounted for.

See prior Guambat posts about the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) here and here.

Now, in time honored "kill the messenger" fashion, someone has put out a hit on Bowen. Not that he's entirely unblemished, but the stuff being thrown at him shouldn't even pop above a routine personnel file entry. It is all fairly petty in the context of the immense pressures his task must have faced from the very beginning. Now he's being troubled mightily for all his toil.

The thing that makes this "post-able" for Guambat is the Guam Connection to the story.

A couple of decades ago when Guambat had a leadership role in the Guam Chamber of Commerce, he got interviewed on enough occasions by one reporter that they could recognize each other in the supermarket. Not a close association, but an acquaintance, you could say.

Now this reporter turns up, gingerly, bewitchingly, in the Investigation of the Investigator. It's a small world after all.

The bigger story was thoroughly reported in the Washington Post, and carried elsewhere as noted by The Jurist.

But the salacious, too-juicy bits are all about Ginger Crunden (as she was when Guambat knew her) Cruz. It appears, Guambat having no knowledge, Ginger may have held some beliefs about witchcraft. She won't have been the first, and there has been more than a little movement toward a push to make Wiccan a more mainstream, or at least acceptable to a tolerable few, belief system (see, e.g.).

As the Muckraker is pointing out,

Ginger Cruz, Bowen's deputy, allegedly used, um, witchcraft to intimidate subordinates
This reference to intimidation comes from the Washington Post report in this context:
Cruz, a former spokeswoman for the governor of Guam, originally joined SIGIR as a contractor working for the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche. Current and former SIGIR employees have told investigators that Cruz threatened to put hexes on employees and made inappropriate sexual remarks in the presence of staff members.

Cruz denied making comments of a "sexual nature" and noted that she was cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal SIGIR investigation into the claim.

After the detailed but anonymous complaint was sent to the presidential council, Cruz sought special dispensation from Bowen for SIGIR to pay her legal fees -- an uncommon practice within government, according to U.S. officials. So far, the agency has paid for more than $32,000 of Cruz's legal fees, according to copies of the invoices provided by SIGIR under a Freedom of Information Act request. Bowen said the agency's general counsel advised him that the payment of Cruz's legal fees was permissible.

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