There was one bright spot in today's Oversight Committee Hearing on Iraq Corruption.
New York's Rep. Carolyn Maloney took a noticeably less deferential tone when questioning Condoleezza Rice about the State Dept.'s inability to account for $1.2 billion in its contract with the DynCorp. Company.
First of all, Secretary Rice was making her contempt for the Representatives and the process of oversight very clear. She was unnecessarily argumentative and condescending, and Rep. Waxman's ability to keep her in line and on message was tenuous at best.
Then comes Rep. Maloney.
Right out of the box, she asks how Condi can say she supports the troops when it is the State Dept. that is responsible for training the Iraqi police
" ...so that Iraqis can stand up so our troops, as the President would say, can stand down".
She goes on to quote the Iraqi Special Inspector General's report which says,
"The State Dept.'s $1.2 billion contract with DynCorp to train the Iraq police is missing..."
"...the State Dept. does not know what it actually received for the $1.2 billion contract..."
So, on the one hand, the State Dept. is so inept the staff couldn't even find the report. And on the other hand, even if they could find it they couldn't tell the IG what they actually got for the money, anyway.
Then she quotes the report again, calling the State Dept.
"...the weakest staffed, most poorly overseen large-scale program in Iraq."
Condi tried to respond with her usual bravado and bluster. She launched into her signature long-winded diatribe, but Rep. Maloney was having none of it. She cut her off and put her in her place.
Then she asked Condi the single best question I've seen her asked in a while:
"My question, Madam Secretary, is for you to put yourself in my shoes. I’m home in my district, I’m standing in front of a townhall meeting of hardworking American men and women who are paying their taxes, many of them punch a clock for their time, they’re accountable for their time and for their money, and how do I explain that the IG says that $1.2 billion is missing that was supposed to train the police ... and how do I explain $4.2 million for a swimming pool that has never been used? What do I say to my constituents when they say ‘why are American young men and women being killed when the American government cannot even account for the money for the Iraqi police that is supposed to help them bring stability?’"
Thank you, Rep. Maloney!
It was all over after that. Condi tried to get indignant and run out the clock, but the smack-down had already happened. And it was well deserved.
Go watch it over at Speaker Pelosi's The Gavel blog.
It's quite enjoyable. And, if you're in Rep. Maloney's district, which I know is most or all of Manhattan and some other parts of New York, please send her some love. She deserves it.