More Pentagon Corruption: $1.3 Billion Missing

Pentagon corruption has cost us trillions in the past, and the money continues to bleed.

I have seen other headlines about other instances of missing money. A few hundred million here, a billion there… no one seems to care. Here’s one story I wrote about a measly couple of million dollars being unaccounted for.

Whenever anyone suggests mildly restricting the unending flow of money from debt and taxes, we hear screams of outrage as if they actually spent more than a fraction of all their loot on national “defense”—a phrase they have taught us to apply to many aggressions as well as national defense.

As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, the Pentagon is incapable of passing a legal audit (the Department of Homeland Security has recently joined them in that “honor”). “Losing” money is a tradition now. The day before 9-11-2001, the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that the Defense budget had lost $2.3 trillion. He called it “a matter of life and death,” but no one saw it that way the next day. The problem seemed to only get worse through the following years.

So now we hear that they have lost a billion dollars in Afghanistan according to the headline of James Rosen’s story at McClatchy’s Washington bureau.

But the headline is using a round number. The amount lost is closer to $1.3 billion.

The Defense Department can’t account for $1.3 billion that was shipped to force commanders in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2014 for critical reconstruction projects, 60 percent of all such spending under an emergency program, an internal report released Thursday concludes.

The missing money was part of the relatively small amount of Afghanistan spending that was routed directly to military officers in a bid to bypass bureaucracy and rush the construction of urgently needed roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, water treatment plants and other essential infrastructure. About 70 percent of the $100 billion the United States has spent to rebuild Afghanistan during more than 13 years of war went through the Pentagon, with the rest distributed by the U.S. Agency for International Development and other civilian departments.

A yearlong investigation by John F. Sopko, the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, found that the Pentagon couldn’t – or wouldn’t – provide basic information about what happened to 6 in 10 dollars of $2.26 billion it had spent over the course of a decade on the Commander’s Emergency Response Program.

“In reviewing this data, SIGAR found that the Department of Defense could only provide financial information relating to the disbursement of funds for CERP projects totaling $890 million (40 percent) of the approximately $2.2 billion in obligated funds at that time,” Sopko’s report says.

When Sopko’s staff divided the Pentagon expenditures into 20 categories set under the emergency program, from transportation and education to health care, agriculture, water and sanitation, by far the largest category was a 21st that the inspector general termed “unknown.”

That category applied to 5,163 projects, compared with 4,494 projects in the 20 defined areas.

U.S. Central Command raise the possibility that some of the money went to “counterinsurgency” though that is nowhere in the record and not the reason for the appropriation.

No one is going to be held accountable for this. It is business as usual. Meanwhile, our veterans are lied to about the health hazzards they faced and are denied medical care by massively overpaid bureaucrats.