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Ex-officials condemn ineffectiveness of US anti-corruption effort in Iraq

[JURIST] Two former State Department [official website] officials lambasted the Bush administration for ineffectiveness in combating corruption in Iraq in a hearing Monday before the US Senate Democratic Policy Committee [official website]. Retired Associate Superior Court Judge Arthur Brennan, who was briefly Director of the Office of Accountability and Transparency (OAT) at the US Embassy in Baghdad, [official website] testified [text, PDF] that "the Department of State’s actual policies [in Iraq] 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"; in the process, Brennan said the US had left at risk Iraqi judges who had taken serious steps to stop the scourge of corruption in their country. Former OAT Chief of Staff James Mattil testified [text, PDF] that the US government had not provided more resources and political support to fight corruption in Iraq because of either "gross incompetence, willful negligence or political intent on the part of the Bush administration and more specifically the Department of State." AP has more.

Corruption in Iraq has been a longstanding problem. Last October, the former head of Iraq's Commission for Public Integrity (CPI) [US State Department backgrounder] accused [JURIST report] the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki [BBC profile] of protecting corrupt employees and of actively attempting to eradicate or control the Commission. US Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) later denounced [JURIST report] al-Malaki for allegedly shielding officials from corruption probes. In January 2008, the chief prosecutor in the trial of Saddam Hussein asserted [JURIST report] that his demotion and transfer to the north of the country was retribution for criticizing financial and ethical corruption within the Iraqi High Tribunal.

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