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July 16, 2005

Indefensible

$1.4 billion here*, $1.4 billion there, and soon you’re talking real money:

WASHINGTON – The federal government’s chief investigator yesterday blasted the Pentagon for its “atrocious financial management,” saying the Defense Department was not able to give federal oversight officials a full accounting of the $1 billion being spent each week on the war in Iraq.
“If the Department of Defense were a business, they’d be out of business,” David Walker, comptroller general of the Government Accountability Office, said at a breakfast with reporters yesterday. “They have absolutely atrocious financial management.”
The GAO has been examining the Pentagon’s Iraq expenses, and “we’re having extreme difficulty in getting the Department of Defense to provide a full accounting of what they’re spending” there, Walker said. “I can’t understand how we’re spending $1 billion a week.”
Walker said the money the government is spending on homeland security and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had little to do with what he called a looming budget crisis. But the Pentagon, whose work is monitored by the GAO, is not accounting for the money it is spending and is “not doing an adequate job” of defining whether the money that is being spent is accomplishing what the government wants, he said.
The Pentagon did not respond to a request for comment.

* You’ll recall that a recent Democratic congressional report highlighted $1.4 billion in “questionable and unsupported” expenses submitted by Halliburton for “logistics and other services” in Iraq.

Posted by Stephen at 12:50 AM in War | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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