Skip to comments.Construction Woes Add to Fears at Embassy in Iraq
Posted on 07/05/2007 5:58:56 AM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner
U.S. diplomats in Iraq, increasingly fearful over their personal safety after recent mortar attacks inside the Green Zone, are pointing to new delays and mistakes in the U.S. Embassy construction project in Baghdad as signs that their vulnerability could grow in the months ahead.
A toughly worded cable sent from the embassy to State Department headquarters on May 29 highlights a cascade of building and safety blunders in a new facility to house the security guards protecting the embassy. The guards' base, which remains unopened today, is just a small part of a $592 million project to build the largest U.S. embassy in the world.
The first signs of trouble, according to the cable, emerged when the kitchen staff tried to cook the inaugural meal in the new guard base on May 15. Some appliances did not work. Workers began to get electric shocks. Then a burning smell enveloped the kitchen as the wiring began to melt.
The "fairly serious problems" noted in the cable indicate that First Kuwaiti's work fails to meet basic safety standards, said an administration official who was not authorized to speak to the news media. But the State Department's Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO), which oversees construction of the new embassy, has kept a "close hold" on the project, making it difficult for anyone else in the government to gauge progress.
The embassy cable prompted a stinging response from James L. Golden, OBO's managing director for the embassy project. In a cable dated June 8, he berated personnel in Baghdad for sending their message over an open embassy system, rather than keeping the complaints in-house.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Just curious - how is it that a "toughly worded cable" from one of our most security-conscious embassies to DoS make it into the WashPost?
Ticked off embassy staffers leaked it to get around this Golden character and to get something done?
That's actually the really troubling part of the story.
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