If this were a reality TV show, instead of reality, they'd call it "Extremely Corrupt Home Makeover: Iraq Edition."
A female Army officer has been charged with using money intended for reconstruction in the holy cities of Iraq to pimp out her New Jersey crib with a bangin' new deck and a hot tub. Oh yeah — and then there was the ill-gotten Escalade…
Lt. Col. Debra Harrison is the fourth person to be arrested and charged in the scandal, and the second army officer. Snip from a report by James Glanz in Friday's New York Times:
An Army lieutenant colonel who received the bronze star for her wartime service in Iraq was arrested yesterday and charged with taking bribes in a growing corruption scandal involving the Iraq reconstruction program. An investigation has jolted the program, embarrassed the United States military and exposed a dark underside of the American occupation authority that ran the country after the invasion in April 2003. (…)
She is charged with receiving cash bribes of $80,000 to $100,000, a Cadillac Escalade, a trove of illegal weaponry and other items for steering construction jobs to an American contractor in Iraq.
Some of the cash, intended for projects like a library in the holy city of Karbala and an Iraqi police academy south of Baghdad, paid for a new hot tub and a deck for Colonel Harrison's home in Trenton, according to the federal affidavit. Conviction on the charges, including conspiracy to commit bribery and money laundering as well as a long list of weapons charges, could put her in prison for up to 30 years, the Justice Department said in a statement.