Afghanistan Watchdog Complains that Government Officials want Him to Tone Down Audits

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
John Sopko

John Sopko’s job for the federal government is essentially to report bad news about the way money is being spent on the Afghanistan war. And that has some people in Washington very unhappy.


Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), says government officials have told him to quiet down about his audits of the war effort.


“Over the last 10 months, I have been criticized by some bureaucrats for not pre-clearing my press releases with them, for not letting them edit the titles of my audits, for talking too much to Congress, for talking too much to the press…and, basically, for not being a ‘team player’ and undermining ‘our country’s mission in Afghanistan,’” Sopko said in a speech before the New America Foundation.


Sopko has been busy since taking office last summer, tripling the number of audits and investigations. To date, his office has come up with 73 recommendations to government agencies that would save at least $450 million if enacted, he says.


“I am not a cheerleader. I’m a watchdog—it is my job to point out what isn’t working, so it can be fixed. To do it any other way is to just muddle along and then nothing will change,” he said.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Watchdog Says Government Has Tried to Silence Him on Afghanistan (by Stephanie Gaskell, Politico)

John F. Sopko: Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (pdf)


U.S. Paid $6.8 Million to “Maintain” Non-Functioning Afghan Police Vehicles (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

U.S. Can’t Account for $200 Million in NATO Gas Receipts for Afghan Army Fuel (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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