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Pentagon Rejected Contracts Because of Party Affiliation
ABC Blog
Rhonda Schwartz and Maddy Sauer Report:
February 15, 2007

The Pentagon rejected qualified experts for reconstruction work in Iraq because they were not deemed loyal to the Republican party, according to the former chief of staff of the Washington Office of the Coalition Provisional Authority, Frederick Smith.

"Some people were overlooked because they didn't meet the political saliva test," Smith, now retired, told ABC News.

Smith said political appointees at the Pentagon, including a special assistant to the secretary of defense and White House liaison, James O'Beirne, led the screening.

"We needed to get the best people out there," Smith said, "not just because they were a member of the Young Republicans Club at Michigan State."

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is now investigating the role of O'Beirne and allegations of what Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., called "an organized and systematic screening process."

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