NOVEMBER 03, 2006
After repeatedly embarrassing the government with reports of massive wrongdoing and outright criminal behavior on the part of high-ranking officials, Congress will close the investigative agency it created to report fraud and waste of Iraq reconstruction funds.
The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq will be shut down next year, despite its success in exposing the rampant fraud and abuse in Iraq that seems to have no end in sight. Lawmakers had said it was a temporary federal agency that would serve as a watchdog for the American public regarding Iraq reconstruction.
Over the years, the Iraq Inspector General’s office has exposed a plethora of corruption involving hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. Its investigations have sent public officials to jail for bribery and conspiracy, exposed how the U.S. Government lost track of nearly $9 billion it gave the Iraqi government and were later embezzled and denounced millions of dollars in no-bid contracts to well-connected companies like Halliburton.
Just last week, it released a scathing report that said the Pentagon lost thousands of sophisticated weapons earmarked for Iraqi security forces. The weapons include assault rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and semiautomatic pistols that could easily be used by terrorists to attack civilians in the United States.
Perhaps that latest embarrassing revelation of negligence drove lawmakers to close the Inspector General’s office by hiding the order in a huge military authorization bill signed by the president. After all, the agency’s 55 auditors and inspectors have done a great job, outdoing every other oversight agency in the nation by publishing roughly 300 reports exposing wrongdoing in the country’s largest reconstruction effort (with funds totaling $18.4 billion) since the end of World War II.
Perhaps the Iraq Inspector General’s office did its job a little too well, according to Mother Jones. Or, as Blue State points out, this could be another example of how dissent is not welcome in this administration even it if means telling taxpayers where their money is going.
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