AUGUST 02, 2007
Days after acknowledging that it has not delivered more than one third of the equipment promised to Iraqi security forces, the Pentagon admits it can’t account for $19.2 billion worth of equipment including nearly 200,000 weapons.
The Department of Defense was supposed to deliver the equipment to Iraq’s army and police as part of a program to develop and train the country’s security forces. Instead, Baghdad officials have long complained that the equipment has not arrived and therefore the forces are ill equipped and poorly trained.
Now a thorough congressional investigation finally reveals the program’s appalling state of disarray, including the fact that no centralized records were ever kept and that at least 190,000 weapons are missing.
The information is documented in a 25-page report published this week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO launched the investigation after the Department of Defense requested an additional $2 billion for the program on top of the $19.2 billion that the government had already provided.
The Defense Department was granted lots of flexibility in managing the program and, because funding didn’t go through traditional security assistance programs, normal accountability requirements did not apply. Four years later, billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars and hundreds of thousands of lethal weapons are missing.
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