According to this report from FOX News, Paul Volcker, the man tasked with leading the UN-approved investigation into the Oil-for-Food program, is now telling key US lawmakers that Congress cannot subpoena two of his former investigators. The two investigators in question are Robert Parton and Miranda Duncan, who resigned after the release of the second report. According to the New York Sun, the resignations may have come because the two felt that the report was too "soft" on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's role in the scandla. In fact, the Associated Press reports:
One committee member, Mark Pieth, confirmed to AP that Parton and the other investigator, Miranda Duncan, had left after disagreeing with how the committee handled facts that were uncovered concerning Annan’s dealings with a Swiss company contracted under the program, which once employed Annan’s son, Kojo.Ouch.
None too pleased by dissension from former subordinates, Paul Volcker, whose job is in hoc to Annan's pleasure, is now doing everything he can to prevent the former investigators from speaking out. His argument, according to FOX News, is that:
... the investigators, who resigned two weeks ago, have diplomatic immunity and therefore cannot be called to testify before their panels.As Niles Gardiner of the Heritage Foundation notes, the assertion of diplomatic immunity is all but an admission that Volcker's committee is in fact beholden to the very organization that it is supposed to be investigating.
My question is: What if Parton and Duncan want to testify? The UN has already tried to withhold documents:
Five congressional panels, including Hyde’s, have been pressing the U.N.-appointed independent inquiry to hand over internal U.N. documents for their own oil-for-food probes.But what happens if Parton and Duncan decide no longer to be UN stooges, and become whistleblowers instead? Don't expect most Democrats to be very encouraging: Remember, they only like whistleblowers when a corporation is being exposed. But if it's an unelected bureaucracy other than the Pentagon, then it is to be protected.
On Tuesday, Volcker reiterated his independent inquiry’s refusal to share documents in a letter responding to a request by Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn. and Carl Levin, D-Mich.
Volcker, who was appointed in April by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to chair the Independent Inquiry Committee, said the United Nations generally does not make internal confidential information available to any of its 191 member states or their investigations.
It would be good if Mr. Parton and Ms. Duncan would come forward and blow the UN's sham of a cover. They must, as the Democrats would have said, "speak truth to power!"
[Cross-posted at Between Worlds]