WASHINGTON - July 30, 2008 - On January 2, 2008, Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Maseth was electrocuted while taking a shower at the Legion Security Forces Building in Baghdad. Press reports have indicated that contractor KBR ignored repeated warnings about the unsafe wiring.
In a memo to the House Oversight Committee this week, Pentagon Inspector General Gordon Heddell claimed there was “no credible evidence” that either KBR or the DOD knew about the hazards beforehand. Information uncovered by the Committee, however, contradicts Heddell.
In a Committee hearing today, Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Cal.) released a work order from July 8, 2007 - months before Maseth’s death - in which Sergeant Justin Hummer, the previous occupant of the room, reported to KBR.
Furthermore, in sworn testimony on June 6, 2008, Hummer said he was shocked at least four times in the shower between June and October 2007. In each case, KBR personnel tried to fix the hazard. Today, the Pentagon IG admitted he was wrong to claim KBR was not aware of the electrical danger:
WAXMAN: This seems to be credible evidence that KBR was aware of this hazard last July.
HEDDELL: I do agree with you, Mr. Chairman.