The Ballad of Cookie and Buzzy

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Nov. 19 2007 12:33 PM

The Ballad of Cookie and Buzzy

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Buzzy and Cookie Krongard grew up five years apart in middle-class Baltimore. Both brothers went to Princeton University, played lacrosse, enjoyed successful business careers, and then entered government.

Alvin "Buzzy" Krongard, the older brother, led his company through a $1.7 billion merger with Bankers Trust and then became the third-highest-ranking official at the Central Intelligence Agency. Buzzy is now semiretired as nonexecutive board chairman to a mortgage company, sits on several corporate boards, and, apparently, advises government contractors. Howard "Cookie" Krongard chose corporate law, then in 2005 was appointed by President George W. Bush to be inspector general of the State Department.

The brothers' parallel career arcs crossed disastrously last week when Cookie, at a House oversight committee hearing to clear up a number of troubling allegations about his performance as inspector general, misremembered a fraternal conversation that had occurred a few weeks earlier and testified emphatically that Buzzy was not affiliated with the State Department's troublesome contractor Blackwater Worldwide. (See below and the following page for a recap by committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif.) During a hearing recess, Buzzy, who had been watching his brother's mistaken testimony on C-SPAN, reminded Cookie by phone that he had indeed recently joined a Blackwater advisory board and added that he'd just participated in his first board meeting. Cookie came back to the hearing and quickly corrected his testimony. While insisting that he is not his brother's keeper, Cookie has now recused himself from Blackwater-related oversight. Buzzy, meanwhile, has stepped down reluctantly from the security contractor's board in order to minimize any appearance of conflict-of-interest. The committee has invited both brothers to clear up additional misunderstandings at their witness table next week.

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