They aren’t even trying these days. Or in the days of 2004.
The chief Pentagon agency in charge of investigating and reporting fraud and waste in Defense Department spending in Iraq quietly pulled out of the war zone a year ago – leaving what experts say are gaps in the oversight of how more than $140 billion is being spent.
The Defense Department’s inspector general sent auditors into Iraq when the war started more than two years ago to ensure that taxpayers were getting their money’s worth for everything from bullets to meals-ready-to-eat.
The auditors were withdrawn in the fall of 2004 because other agencies were watching spending, too. But experts say those other agencies don’t have the expertise, access and broad mandate that the inspector general has – and don’t make their reports public.
That means that the bulk of money being spent in Iraq doesn’t get public scrutiny, leaving the door open for possible waste, fraud and abuse, experts say.