CIA Wasted Millions of Taxpayer Dollars on Cash to Afghan Leader

Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Hamid Karzai

U.S. officials have long complained about corruption in Afghanistan’s government—and now it’s come out that one of the biggest contributors to said corruption was the United States itself.


In one of the most disturbing tales yet of payoffs, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) spent more than a decade delivering tens of millions of dollars in cash to the office of President Hamid Karzai, according to an investigation led by Matthew Rosenberg of The New York Times.


The newspaper learned that American dollars—what one former Afghan official called “ghost money”—were put into suitcases, backpacks and even plastic shopping bags and dropped off in secret in the hopes it would buy influence with Karzai and warlords.


Instead, the payments undermined U.S. efforts to help Afghanistan develop a legitimate, democratic government.


“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,” one American official told the Times, “was the United States.”


Mohammed Zia Salehi, the administrative chief of the Afghan National Security Office in charge of distributing the CIA cash, was arrested in July 2010, accused, among other transgressions, of smuggling cash out of the country. He made a call to Hamid Karzai and was instantly released.


According to Matthew Rosenberg, Salehi, referring to the contradiction of the U.S. government trying to fight corruption in Afghanistan, while at the same time forking over millions of dollars of cash, said, called himself, “an enemy of the FBI and a hero to the CIA.”


In a follow-up story, Karzai acknowledged the CIA payments, claiming the money was used for “various purposes.” Those close to Karzai said the cash went to pay off warlords, lawmakers and others whom the president courted for support. Karzai shrugged off the controversy, noting that his Office of National Security still receives monthly cash payments from the CIA. Later, his office issued a statement that some of the money was used to treat wounded soldiers, but others suggested that it wasn’t wounded soldiers who were receiving “treats.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

Afghan Leader Acknowledges Cash Deliveries by C.I.A. (by Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times)

How the CIA’s Bags of Cash Undermined the Afghanistan War (by Spencer Ackerman, Wired)

With Bags of Cash, C.I.A. Seeks Influence in Afghanistan (by Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times)

What’s Next for the Family the U.S. Put in Power in Afghanistan? (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Is the U.S. Supporting a Family of Karzai Crooks in Afghanistan? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Karzai Family Inc. in Afghanistan (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


James Kirk 9 years ago
So, CIA is funding corrupt leaders who are in bed with drug lords shipping 90% of the opium market - to Asia / Europe / US and with the money... funding terrorism So what is the DEA for again? So we are basically operating like a cartel with our U.S. tax money in the billions funding it. the drugs are poisoning people, the Islamic terrorists get money for funding, and we are funding them so they can plant the drug crops to complete the cycle and stash it in Geneva and the Caymans / Saudi, etc. If I were to do this on my own, I would be serving 10 life sentences in jail. Also, the CIA said there WMD's in Iraq... Where were they? Hundreds of billions wasted and 100,000+ dead iraqis and what was the price? Freedom? No, they just voted in their tribal leaders that have always lead them... CIA = bunch of fat overpaid white people that have no real clue how the real world operates and throw bags of U.S. tax payer cash around that actually create problems. They are a joke and with the sequester- I hope they lose half their budget and funding.
JB 9 years ago
Typical. I'm happy to live in a country that takes money from my paychecks to give as payoffs and bribes to other wealthy 3rd world country leaders. Glad I have to eat rice and soup since 1/4 of my check gets taken and given to millionaire leaders of countries that kill Americans for sport. What double crossing BS. I wonder if the people that deliver bribes like that, the ones that are employed by the US, realize that by definition - if they even pay taxes - they are literally contributing to this bribery while they are on the clock... good times America
George Hilbert 9 years ago
Same old story. U.S. hands over millions in cash to corrupt Third World dictator again. I have been reading this for decades now. Hope and Change. I have really hoped that this would change. But, no. How many American citizens receive even that which has been promised by the fedgov? After having my paychecks reduced for decades for Social Security, they are now talking about reducing the "benefit" that I receive. They didn't reduce to 75 percent the amounts they forced me to give up for all of those years. They took 100 percent of the limit they specified. They also didn't call the amounts they took as "disbenefits," which is what they were. They called them "contributions." Socialist double-speak. It will be the same for Obamacare, only it will happen faster than Social Security. Good luck with that, sucker.

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