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War Profiteering : Lack of Accountability


Guest Senator Jim Webb
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Guest Senator Jim Webb

Senate Democratic freshmen today introduced a bill to establish an independent, bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting to investigate U.S. wartime contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Commission would significantly increase transparency and accountability and generate important solutions for systematic contracting problems, potentially saving taxpayers billions of dollars.

 

The Commission will study and investigate the impact of the government’s growing reliance on civilian contractors to perform wartime functions. It will assess the extent of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement of wartime contracts, and the extent to which those responsible have been held accountable.

 

The Commission will work in consultation with a newly-expanded Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) that will be authorized to audit defense wartime contracts for logistics support, as well as other federal agency contracts for security and intelligence functions in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. This collaborative effort will result in specific findings and recommendations to improve inter-agency wartime contracting.

 

“Hundreds of billions of dollars have been allocated for reconstruction and stabilization efforts in Iraq alone, creating a strong potential for waste, fraud and abuse. The Commission will be retroactive in terms of accountability and proactive in terms of providing recommendations on wartime contracting. It will also address the widespread use of government contractors instead of American combat troops,” said Senator Webb.

 

“We are outsourcing this war in ways we’ve never seen,” continued Webb. “Defrauding the government of millions of taxpayer dollars should not be considered ‘the cost of doing business.’ It’s time for Congress to stand up on behalf of the American people and say: ‘We want our money back.’”

 

“During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt said, ‘I don't want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster’. And so Missouri’s own Senator Harry Truman created a committee that investigated and uncovered millions of dollars in wasteful, wartime spending,” Senator McCaskill said.

 

“We know that the cost plus contracts used in Iraq and Afghanistan are nearly blank checks to private defense contractors, primed for waste, fraud and abuse. We need a new investigatory body, inspired by the Truman Committee, to protect our tax dollars and bring better accountability to the way we do business while at war,” continued McCaskill.

 

The bill, filed by Senators Jim Webb (D-VA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO), is inspired by the work of the “Truman Committee” which conducted hundreds of hearings and investigations into government waste during WWII at an estimated savings of more than $178 billion (in today’s dollars) to the American taxpayer.

 

This is the first joint initiative of freshman Senators, including Webb, McCaskill, Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Bob Casey (PA).

 

Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin and Senators Tom Carper, John Kerry, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Barack Obama and Tim Johnson also serve as co-sponsors of the original amendment, filed as no. 2206, to the National Defense Authorization Act.

 

Waste, Fraud, Abuse and Mismanagement of Wartime Contracts

 

In Tuesday’s USA Today story entitled “Largest Iraq Contract Rife with Errors,” government auditors reviewing contractor KBR Inc.’s annual cost estimate for services in Iraq discovered that the company proposed $110 million in charges for housing, food, water, laundry and other services on bases that had been shut down. (http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2007-07-16-iraq-auditors_N.htm)

 

An audit conducted by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found that the Parsons Company received $186 million over the past three years to construct 142 health-care centers in Iraq. As of May 10, only 15 centers had been completed—and only eight were open to the public

 

Outsourcing the War, Lack of Accountability

 

There are now more contractors (180,000) than military personnel (156, 247) in Iraq. A list of companies contracted in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom does not exist. Figures on how much the government is paying contractors does not exist.

 

The Government Accountability Office reported that between fiscal years 2003 and 2006, the U.S. government has allocated more than $300 billion to support stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Iraq alone. This increasing reliance on contractors exposes billions of taxpayer dollars to potential misuse and waste.

 

“As a former Pennsylvania Auditor General, I know firsthand the need to aggressively root out waste in government,” said Senator Casey. “But it is especially egregious for companies doing business in Iraq to profit from fraud and abuse for taxpayer dollars to be lost as our troops are in harm’s way.”

 

“For too long we’ve heard horror stories of waste, fraud and abuse by government contractors. Montana taxpayers work too hard to subsidize this kind of greed,” said Senator Tester. “The wars we fight and shed blood for are not for profit. This legislation brings long overdue accountability and real change to the way American contractors do business in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

 

“This proposal is long overdue,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Again and again we have seen contractors wastefully spend hard-working American taxpayer dollars while this Administration sat idly by – enough is enough. When I was a county attorney, we always said, ‘follow the money and you’ll find the bad guys.’ This Commission will follow the money and it will make sure people are held accountable for waste, fraud, and abuse.”

 

“Iraq is a target rich-environment for corruption, and monitoring the expenditure of U.S. resources requires vigilance,” said Senator Whitehouse. “This Commission will ensure that the billions of dollars provided for reconstruction in Iraq are accounted for – so the hard-earned money U.S. taxpayers provide will serve the purposes we intend, for the benefit of both the American and the Iraqi people.”

 

“This administration has unapologetically attempted to privatize virtually every government function they can get their hands on,” said Senator Brown. “The rampant private contracting in Iraq is the most egregious example to date – but it’s certainly not the only one.”

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Ya mean that the democrat web site that has been trying for years now to find government waste, and abuse, and hasn't found any. That they are barking up the wrong tree? "Even though they are trying to git

journalist's, as well as federal employee's to find the abuse"

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Senate Democratic freshmen today introduced a bill to establish an independent, bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting to investigate U.S. wartime contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Commission would significantly increase transparency and accountability and generate important solutions for systematic contracting problems, potentially saving taxpayers billions of dollars.

 

The Commission will study and investigate the impact of the government’s growing reliance on civilian contractors to perform wartime functions. It will assess the extent of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement of wartime contracts, and the extent to which those responsible have been held accountable.

 

The Commission will work in consultation with a newly-expanded Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) that will be authorized to audit defense wartime contracts for logistics support, as well as other federal agency contracts for security and intelligence functions in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. This collaborative effort will result in specific findings and recommendations to improve inter-agency wartime contracting.

 

“Hundreds of billions of dollars have been allocated for reconstruction and stabilization efforts in Iraq alone, creating a strong potential for waste, fraud and abuse. The Commission will be retroactive in terms of accountability and proactive in terms of providing recommendations on wartime contracting. It will also address the widespread use of government contractors instead of American combat troops,” said Senator Webb.

 

“We are outsourcing this war in ways we’ve never seen,” continued Webb. “Defrauding the government of millions of taxpayer dollars should not be considered ‘the cost of doing business.’ It’s time for Congress to stand up on behalf of the American people and say: ‘We want our money back.’”

 

“During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt said, ‘I don't want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster’. And so Missouri’s own Senator Harry Truman created a committee that investigated and uncovered millions of dollars in wasteful, wartime spending,” Senator McCaskill said.

 

“We know that the cost plus contracts used in Iraq and Afghanistan are nearly blank checks to private defense contractors, primed for waste, fraud and abuse. We need a new investigatory body, inspired by the Truman Committee, to protect our tax dollars and bring better accountability to the way we do business while at war,” continued McCaskill.

 

The bill, filed by Senators Jim Webb (D-VA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO), is inspired by the work of the “Truman Committee” which conducted hundreds of hearings and investigations into government waste during WWII at an estimated savings of more than $178 billion (in today’s dollars) to the American taxpayer.

 

This is the first joint initiative of freshman Senators, including Webb, McCaskill, Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Bob Casey (PA).

 

Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin and Senators Tom Carper, John Kerry, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Barack Obama and Tim Johnson also serve as co-sponsors of the original amendment, filed as no. 2206, to the National Defense Authorization Act.

 

Waste, Fraud, Abuse and Mismanagement of Wartime Contracts

 

In Tuesday’s USA Today story entitled “Largest Iraq Contract Rife with Errors,” government auditors reviewing contractor KBR Inc.’s annual cost estimate for services in Iraq discovered that the company proposed $110 million in charges for housing, food, water, laundry and other services on bases that had been shut down. (http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2007-07-16-iraq-auditors_N.htm)

 

An audit conducted by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found that the Parsons Company received $186 million over the past three years to construct 142 health-care centers in Iraq. As of May 10, only 15 centers had been completed—and only eight were open to the public

 

Outsourcing the War, Lack of Accountability

 

There are now more contractors (180,000) than military personnel (156, 247) in Iraq. A list of companies contracted in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom does not exist. Figures on how much the government is paying contractors does not exist.

 

The Government Accountability Office reported that between fiscal years 2003 and 2006, the U.S. government has allocated more than $300 billion to support stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Iraq alone. This increasing reliance on contractors exposes billions of taxpayer dollars to potential misuse and waste.

 

“As a former Pennsylvania Auditor General, I know firsthand the need to aggressively root out waste in government,” said Senator Casey. “But it is especially egregious for companies doing business in Iraq to profit from fraud and abuse for taxpayer dollars to be lost as our troops are in harm’s way.”

 

“For too long we’ve heard horror stories of waste, fraud and abuse by government contractors. Montana taxpayers work too hard to subsidize this kind of greed,” said Senator Tester. “The wars we fight and shed blood for are not for profit. This legislation brings long overdue accountability and real change to the way American contractors do business in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

 

“This proposal is long overdue,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Again and again we have seen contractors wastefully spend hard-working American taxpayer dollars while this Administration sat idly by – enough is enough. When I was a county attorney, we always said, ‘follow the money and you’ll find the bad guys.’ This Commission will follow the money and it will make sure people are held accountable for waste, fraud, and abuse.”

 

“Iraq is a target rich-environment for corruption, and monitoring the expenditure of U.S. resources requires vigilance,” said Senator Whitehouse. “This Commission will ensure that the billions of dollars provided for reconstruction in Iraq are accounted for – so the hard-earned money U.S. taxpayers provide will serve the purposes we intend, for the benefit of both the American and the Iraqi people.”

 

“This administration has unapologetically attempted to privatize virtually every government function they can get their hands on,” said Senator Brown. “The rampant private contracting in Iraq is the most egregious example to date – but it’s certainly not the only one.”

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Blingbling; I honestly can't believe that even you believe what you are typing about.

 

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This issue is more than talking about waste. This issue is about Republicans stealing from Americans.

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  • 6 months later...
Guest keep the facts straight

JThe U.S. Departments of State and Defense have agreed to a new system of rules designed to increase control over private security contractors working in Iraq. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports from Washington.

 

The move to tighten oversight of private contractors follows an incident last September in which guards from the Blackwater company providing security for a U.S. diplomatic convoy fired on Iraqi civilians killing 17 people.

 

Company officials say the guards were protecting diplomats when they came under fire, but Iraqi investigators concluded the shooting spree was unprovoked.

 

The shooting sparked outrage in Iraq and a joint working group was formed consisting of officials from the State and Defense Departments to review the rules of conduct for contractors.

 

State Department spokesman Tom Casey says the new system is designed to increase communication between State Department security agents, the U.S. military, Iraqi security forces and private contractors.

 

"Part of this is a simple no surprises rule. We want to make sure that any convoy that goes out is something that any military officer operating in a particular area, knows is coming, has had input into the assignment of, in terms of anything that might be happening in his area of operation that might affect the safety of our people and that we have the possibility and an ability for people, in real time, to communicate with one another because it is a war zone," he said.

 

Casey says U.S. diplomats and defense officials have agreed on a memorandum of understanding that includes coordination of movement, accountability and rules on the use of weapons.

 

"What we have looked at is making sure there is a common understanding of how and when force, in particular deadly force, should be used by personal security contractors," he said.

 

Casey says the new policy includes a clear training standard for security contractors and an increase in the number of Arabic speakers going out with diplomatic convoys who can communicate with Iraqis.

 

He says each convoy will include an officer of the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service.

 

The spokesman says the department will soon install video and audio equipment in security vehicles to record radio transmissions and incidents that might occur when a convoy is moving.

 

Casey says the State and Defense Departments will now have a common set of operating principles governing the policies toward private security contractors in Iraq.

 

"A lot of this is about improving the communications and coordination between the two sides to try and make sure we can do what everyone wants to do, which is to make sure our diplomats can carry out their important missions in Iraq, while at the same time doing so in a way that insures the safety and security of everyone involved, not only U.S. military officials but, of course, Iraqis as well," he said.

 

Casey says the new policy will govern how future shooting incidents are investigated and how to hold accountable any contractors who violate the rules.

 

The U.S. Ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan Crocker and the head of the multi-national forces command in Iraq, General David Petraeus, have agreed to the new plan.

 

http://ipoaonline.org/php/images/dosdodpscs.pdf

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