Flashback: It’s January 2007, and Melanie Kirkpatrick pens an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal accusing the United Nations Development Program of funneling “upward of $100 million” to the coffers of North Korean leader Kim Jong Ill. The accusation stems from allegations made by the United States Representative for UN Management and Reform, Mark Wallace. The WSJ quickly dubbed this the “Cash for Kim” scandal. The echo chamber grows louder, claiming this is a new “Oil For Food” scandal. The UNDP suspends its operations in North Korea pending an investigation.
Present Day: An internal UNDP investigation, an investigation by the United States Senate, and just last week an external audit lead by the former Prime Minister of Hungary (and including the former head of the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund) cleared the UNDP of wrongdoing. This later report was the most exhaustive–and the most damning toward those who have been trying to make this scandal stick. There was no scandal. It found the the UNDP followed normal diplomatic procedures in its financial dealings with North Korea.
As The Atlantic’s James Gibney pointed out, this was “The UN Scandal that Wasn’t…More broadly, as the New York Times observed, “the dense 353-page report appeared to concur with what the [UNDP] had maintained all along, that the American allegations were baseless.”
But Kilpatrick–now with egg all over her face–refuses to acknowledge her mistake and move on. Rather, she takes to the op-ed page again today to claim that a report which exoneratesthe UNDP actually implicates it further! Ugh.