Monday, August 27, 2007

Pentagon Official (Undersecretary Paul Brinkley) Is Under Investigation

LA Times

Undersecretary Paul Brinkley, who heads efforts to boost business in Iraq, faces allegations of mismanagement.

A Bush political appointee and former Silicon Valley executive who has faced opposition in his bid to bail out Iraq's struggling factories is under investigation by the Defense Department on mismanagement allegations.

Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Paul A. Brinkley, who heads an economic task force in Baghdad, is accused of mismanaging government money and engaging in public drunkenness and sexual harassment, a Defense Department spokesman said last week.

The allegations stem from a 12-page memo filed this month by two former members of the task force. The charges are being investigated by the Defense Department's Office of the Inspector General.

Bob Love, director of operations for the task force, said he was shocked by the allegations, saying they were related to "personnel issues." He said the former task force members were dismissed before they filed their complaint.

"As someone who has traveled extensively with Mr. Brinkley, I don't believe any of that is substantiated," Love said, speaking for Brinkley, who is on vacation. "He has dedicated his life to this effort."

Although Brinkley has won support from military commanders for his campaign for taxpayer-funded investment in Iraqi factories, the plan is opposed by State Department officials here who believe the former state-run factories should be privatized.

Brinkley has argued that Iraqi factories need a jump-start to compete with the international companies now serving Iraq, importing everything from fruit to air conditioners.

"They're so worried about having socialism here," Brinkley said of his critics at the State Department. "The free market already won. A free market will take hold -- they just need a shot." ......

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