Sunday, May 8, 2011

US investigating war contractor con jobs

US investigating war contractor con jobs

The US Commission on Wartime Contracting says hired contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan have been caught bilking billions of dollars from the United States government.

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The commission discovered that billions of dollars are missing, misspent, or defrauded by private contractors in Afghanistan, and questioned why companies caught cheating the US taxpayer have not been barred from doing business with the government, the Press TV correspondent in Washington reported on Monday.

During the session, commission members noted that they have documented war profiteering, false billing, poor management, and outright theft of money meant to help the US military fight the Taliban and help the Afghan people rebuild, but no large contractor has ever been brought to book or banned from working for the government.

Commission co-chair Christopher Shays said that despite the fact that estimates indicate that ten percent of the money the US government has paid contractors over the past ten years has been wasted through fraud and abuse, “I can't name five companies that have been debarred for faulty service.”

The commission recommends that the Obama administration should rely less on private contractors.

Commission member Clark Kent Ervin criticized the government for its lack of oversight of contractors, noting, “There is no question but that the government has a huge huge responsibility here that is not exercised.”

On the other hand, former US Undersecretary of Defense Jacques Gansler said it costs nearly twice as much for the government to perform such a service as a contractor, arguing that “there are going to be some illegal actions, no question about that, that's why we have jails… but occasionally we are going to have some abuses.”

Human rights lawyer Paul Wolf told Press TV that no large contractor has been held accountable for cheating the US taxpayers out of billions, stating, “Not only is it a crime to bribe foreign officials, but to simply take money from the US government and not be able to account for what happened to it.”

Gansler and General Accountability Office official Paul Francis called on the Congress to hire more auditors to keep a closer eye on the books.

The Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan is an independent commission of the US government established in 2008 to study government contracting related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

On Monday, US President Barack Obama met with his national security team on Afghanistan behind closed doors in the White House. Obama plans to begin withdrawing US troops from the country in about two months.

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