The FBI is investigating the Bahgdad-area ambush and murder of Dale Stoffel, a U.S. weapons dealer who repeatedly warned an oversight task force overseen by one of America’s top generals that Raymond Zayna, a Lebanese middleman, was “routing kickbacks to Iraqi Defense Ministry officials.” The $283-million project to build a tank division was announced by interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi last summer. “Senior military officials did not act on the contractor’s pleas for tighter financial controls,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

“If we proceed [as we are] there will be serious legal issues that will land us all in jail,” [Stoffel] wrote in a Nov. 30 e-mail to a senior assistant to [Army Lt. Gen. David H.] Petraeus. …

Stoffel, who was awarded the contract without competitive bidding but with Iraqi insistence that he include the Lebanese middleman, returned to the U.S., asked Pentagon officials and Sen. Rick Santorum’s office to pressure the Iraqis for his $24.7 million, and suggested an international accounting firm be brought in.

“News of it will be on the front page under the photos of President Bush, [Defense Secretary Donald H.] Rumsfeld, me” and Petraeus’ task force, Stoffel wrote to another military officer in early December. “Jobs will be lost and congressional hearings will be held.”

::: Below: “Show me the money!”
U.S. military officials then informed Zayna, the Lebanese middleman, about the allegations of corruption, and a British general ordered Zayna to release the money to Stoffel.

As of Dec. 8, Stoffel still had not received the money. That day, after he left the Taji military base outside Baghdad, his SUV was rammed by another vehicle. Stoffel and a business associate, Joseph Wemple, were cut down in a hail of bullets.

“Senior U.S. military officials have continued to work with” Zayna.
“The case” reports the Times, “raises concerns about the U.S. commitment to accountability in projects involving Iraqi money,” including $8.8 billion in contracts issued using Iraqi funds.

A $24.7-million payment on the contract that was supposed to go to Stoffel is unaccounted for. …

Coincidentally, as I post this, Janeane Garofalo is talking about the story, which was covered on NPR today. Garofalo played a portion the NPR interview. An insurgent group took credit, but no one has ever heard of the insurgent group. “Dale’s friends and colleagues have a lot of questions about his death,” said the LA Times’s reporter Ken Silverstein on NPR today.

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