$6.6 Billion of Taxpayer Money Vanished in Iraq
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
iraq contractors with bundles of cash (photo: House Committee on Government Reform)
Labeled the biggest heist in American history, about $6.6 billion delivered to Iraq by the United States after the 2003 invasion has disappeared.
The money was part of $12 billion in cash that was flown to Iraq on U.S. military planes, presumably to help get the country back on its feet after the toppling of Saddam Hussein. The money had been held in a special account by the Federal Reserve during years of international sanctions imposed on Iraq. But once the American military took control of Iraq, the Bush administration decided to flood the country with money to stabilize the local economy.
Stuart Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, conducted audits to find out what became of the $12 billion, and during the investigation, he discoveredthat U.S. officials often failed to keep track how the funds were disbursed to Iraqi agencies.
In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Bowen said the missing money could well represent “the largest theft of funds in national history.” He later backed off on this assessment, saying his remark was taken out of context.
Iraq’s government is threatening to take the U.S. to court to reclaim the lost money, which came from Iraqi oil sales, seized assets and surplus funds from the United Nations’ oil-for-food program.
Last summer, the Iraq special inspector general reported that he was unable to properly account for more than 95% of $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil money used by the U.S. for rebuilding the country.
Auditor Clarifies Comment about Missing Cash in Iraq (by Charles Clark, Government Executive)
Missing Iraq Money May Have Been Stolen, Auditors Say (by Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times)
Audit: US Can't Account for $8.7B in Iraqi Funds (by Tarek El-Tablawy and Sinan Salaheddin, Associated Press)
The Hunt for Weapons of Mass Corruption (by Joel Millman, Wall Street Journal)
Inspector General Recommends Halt to Funding of $26 Million Iraqi Security Academy (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
U.S. Wasted $3-5 billion in Iraq Reconstruction…Next Stop—Afghanistan (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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