- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

An Army colonel who blew the whistle on a task force that wasted $43 million building a gas station in Afghanistan says he is being retaliated against, according to a prominent U.S. senator.

Col. John Hope was the director of operations for the $800 million task force when he brought forward concerns about its lack of accountability.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction released a scathing report this month on the $43 million compresses natural gas station, one of the task force’s programs. The IG said the gas station should have cost closer to $500,000.

According to a letter sent by Sen. Charles Grassley to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter last week, Col. Hope said he had “been singled out for retaliation and retribution” for “speaking truth.”

Col. Hope told Mr. Grassley’s office that after he spoke out about the task force, which is now defunct, he was informed by his assignment officer that the Army had received “negative feedback” of his job performance on the task force and that his performance review was delayed, jeopardizing his career.

According to Mr. Grassley’s letter, Col. Hope said the Army was told his task force tour “did not go well.”

“This unfavorable evaluation stands in sharp contrast to four previous Officer Evaluation Reports (OER) that recommended he be ‘selected for brigadier general,’” wrote Mr. Grassley, Iowa Republican.

If the Pentagon is retaliating against someone for speaking out on poor accountability and wasteful spending, that’s unacceptable,” Mr. Grassley said in a statement Monday. “It’s detrimental to the individual and to the taxpayers.”

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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