U.S. Wasted $6B to $8B in Iraq Reconstruction: Official

Of the $51 billion the U.S. sent to Iraq to rebuild the country after years of war, between $6 billion and $8 billion was lost to waste, fraud and abuse, an official who monitored the fund estimated Tuesday. Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, attributed the losses to sloppy record-keeping by U.S. agencies, including the Departments of State and Defense and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Auditors found that the State and Defense Departments often approved billions of dollars in services without checking to make sure the costs were accurate and uncovered multiple instances of State and Pentagon officials participating in bid-rigging and bribe-taking. Blame was largely heaped on a lack of manpower dedicated to overseeing government contracts. A separate report on Afghanistan's reconstruction efforts released in May echoed similar concerns about corruption and lax oversight.

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