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Pentagon Knows Nothing About Electrocutions of Soldiers

Four current, and one former, Pentagon officials testified today before the House oversight committee on faulty wiring blamed for the deaths of 16 U.S. soldiers who were electrocuted while serving Iraq since 2004. In a disquieting exchange, Rep. Kevin Brady (D-Tx.) listed the names of some of these soldiers, like specialist Chase Whitham who died in a swimming pool back in May 2004. Brady asked the officials testifying if they have any information about who is responsible for the electrocutions. The Pentagon representatives said they don’t know.

The witnesses went on to describe other critical facts they don’t have, including how they don’t know who installed the electricity, who inspected the sites or what contractor KBR could have done differently.

“It’s been more than four years since the first death,” Brady pointed out. “Why don’t we know by now? This is not a new issue.”

“I don’t know why we don’t know,” responded Gordon Heddell, the acting inspector general of the Pentagon.

“When we will know?” Brady asked.

“Sir, I’ll have to get back to you on a timeline,” replied Jeffrey Parsons, exec. director of the Army Contracting Command.

The Pentagon IG, meanwhile, is promising a report on the electrocutions by October. But for now, they aren’t giving answers.

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