Friday, January 21, 2005

Contractors, Con Men, or CIA Operatives?

My first introduction to this story was a brief blurb on Pittburgh's WPXI website this morning - the FBI is looking into the death of a civilian contractor in Iraq. The contractor, Dale Stoffel, was shot and killed in December near Taji, Iraq.

Here's what caught my eye and caused me to do a bit more digging on this story:

The FBI investigates all American deaths in Iraq.

But, it wants to know if Stoffel was ambushed because he accused the Iraqi military of corruption...

It turns out that Stoffel was not the only one killed in the attack - a work companion, Joseph Wemple, was also slain.

Initially, the story was reported as the dastardly work of the dreaded Iraqi insurgents. As time has gone on, however, another story is emerging:

The killings came after Stoffel alerted senior U.S. officials in Washington that Iraqi Defense Ministry officials were part of a kickback scheme involving a multimillion-dollar contract awarded to his company, Wye Oak Technology, to refurbish old Iraqi military equipment.

And then it gets even weirder - were these two guys CIA operatives also?

DUBAI, Dec 17 (AFP) - A militant group killed two US intelligence agents in Iraq on December 8, (MUST USE IE)according to a video released on an Islamist website Friday.

The video shows two armed and masked men reading a statement announcing the deaths of the two men near Taji, north of Baghdad, described as "two members of the Pentagon and the CIA."

The footage from the Saraya al-Jihad Al-Islami group shows various photos and official documents belonging to the two men, one of whom is named as Joseph James Wemple.

The statement said that "fighters attacked the vehicles (carrying the two men), killed them and took their weapons as well as archaeological artefacts belonging to (Mesopotamian) heritage and secret documents."

One of around 20 photos shown in the video showed Wemple alongside US President George W. Bush...

Some more of those "known unknowns we don't know about" in Iraq...