Inspector General’s Final Iraq Report Says at least $8 Billion Wasted in Reconstruction Spending

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Iraq (AP Photo)

The United States poured more than $50 billion into reconstructing Iraq after blowing a lot of it up during the war. But the mess that the U.S. created transcended buildings and infrastructure that were demolished—it also made a mess of accounting for how the money was spent, and as a result wound up losing at least $8 billion.


In its final report (pdf), the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) concluded that the federal government lost 15% of the $53 billion spent on rebuilding the country.


Fraud, waste and abuse were blamed for the missing money, according to SIGIR.


“During SIGIR’s six months of effort, we could not find reliably complete information showing what U.S. construction funds accomplished,” SIGIR’s report states. “The full story on the use of billions of U.S. dollars for reconstructing Iraq will forever remain incomplete.”


The hundreds of audits performed by SIGIR since its creation in 2004 have saved American taxpayers more than $1 billion. Those nine years of reports “tell an episodic story of waste,” remarked Special Inspector General Stuart Bowen.


The Project on Government Oversight, an independent government watchdog, noted that the total of wasted taxpayer money could eclipse $8 billion if the Iraq government fails to follow through on the reconstruction projects started by the U.S.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

SIGIR Says “At Least” $8 Billion Lost in Iraq (by Neil Gordon, Project on Government Oversight)

Government Agencies Cannot Fully Identify Projects Financed with Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Funds (Report of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction) (pdf)

The Hunt for Weapons of Mass Corruption (by Joel Millman, Wall Street Journal)

Empty Iraq Prison A "Monument" To Waste (by Brian Murphy and Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press)

Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (Project on Government Oversight)

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

$6.6 Billion of Taxpayer Money Vanished in Iraq (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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