U.S. Ambassador to Albania Aided Arms Cover Up, State Dept. Official Alleges

The U.S. ambassador to Albania may have personally approved an effort to cover up the illegal Chinese origins of ammunition shipped to Afghanistan, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said today.

Furthermore, the State Department withheld that information from the committee when it looked into the matter in April, Waxman says.

Major Larry Harrison, the Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Albania, told Waxman's committee in a June 9 interview that the ambassador had met with Albania's defense minister in November 2007, and that the two decided to aid AEY, Inc. in its destruction of Chinese packaging housing ammunition it was sending to Afghanistan, Waxman said today.

AEY's 22-year old president was indicted last week under allegations of illegally sending Chinese ammo to Afghanistan under government contract. AEY received $300 million in federal contracts.

Harrison also alleged that his input was redacted from a State Department report on the embassy's involvement with AEY. The committee had asked the embassy for information in April, and embassy officials denied his input from a briefing, Harrison alleged.

In a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Waxman today asked that the ambassador and five other embassy officials give transcribed interviews to the committee no later than July 11.