Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in Iraq Reconstruction

In a February 15 memo to the members of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a staggering estimate of the amount of fraud, waste, and abuse carrying out the Iraq reconstruction was revealed:

Last fall, GAO reported to Congress that Pentagon auditors had identified approximately $3.5 billion in contractor charges as “questioned” or “unsupported” costs. The Pentagon auditors have recently informed the Committee of significantly higher estimates of wasteful spending in Iraq. According to the auditors, questioned and unsupported costs have now risen to more than $10 billion – nearly three times higher than previously reported. According to the Pentagon auditors, more than one in six dollars they have audited in Iraq is suspect.

According to the information the Committee has received, over $2.7 billion in questioned and unsupported costs have been identified in contracts held by Halliburton, the largest private contractor operating in Iraq. The auditors also informed the Committee that Pentagon officials have rejected the majority of their recommendations to disallow the unreasonable charges they have identified.

The estimate of $10 billion in wasteful or undocumented spending in Iraq is likely to underestimate the full magnitude of the problem.

Question: Are you kidding me?

Answer: Unfortunately, no.

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