Contractor Corruption in Iraq

Corruption-a-paralyzing-pest "Court records show that last month investigators subpoenaed the personal bank records of Col. Anthony B. Bell, who is now retired from the Army but who was in charge of reconstruction contracting in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 when the small operation grew into a frenzied attempt to remake the country’s broken infrastructure. In addition, investigators are examining the activities of Lt. Col. Ronald W. Hirtle of the Air Force, who was a senior contracting officer in Baghdad in 2004, according to two federal officials involved in the inquiry.

It is not clear what specific evidence exists against the two men, and both said they had nothing to hide from investigators. Yet officials say that several criminal cases over the past few years point to widespread corruption in the operation the men helped to run. As part of the inquiry, the authorities are taking a fresh look at information given to them by Dale C. Stoffel, an American arms dealer and contractor who was killed in Iraq in late 2004."  NY Times


There has been a lot of "tarnish on the blade" in the aftermath of this major war.  A lot of money was thrown around, and is still thrown around much too loosely.  Some of that is inevitable, but not this much.  The Obama Administration needs to tighten up the controls on what is being done with contract money spread across networks of American contractors and sub-contractors and trickling down eventually to Iraqis who actually do the work.  pl

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9 Responses to Contractor Corruption in Iraq

  1. Cato the Censor says:

    It makes my blood boil to think of commissioned military officers behaving like this. This is just one reason why I object to Bush and crew getting away with a free pass on everything: the Iraq War has to be one of the worst examples of blatant, over the top, war profiteering in the nation’s history.

  2. Hank Foresman says:

    Colonel, you are spot on there is going to be some graft and corruption, but not like what has been reported. Unfortunately those who have ended up in the Acquisition Corps of the United States Army, have been the bottom third of the Officer Corps. Never popular with the mass of Army Officers, the Acquisition Corps has been an attractive alternative to many mediocre officers. I do not want to paint the whole Corps with a broad brush, as there are some truly fine officers in the Acquisition Corps. The ones who ended up in Iraq were the ones who were expendable and whose Command wanted to get rid of them. While there is an Air Force Officer implicated, the USAF, and I hate to admit this, does a much better job of training its Acquisition and Contracting Officers, as that is a career field they enter as a 2nd Lieutenant.
    What is appalling about the accusations is that they tarnishes the entire Officer Corps and Army with the slime of dishonesty.
    Who is to blame. That is another discussion.

  3. Green Zone Cafe says:

    I remember Col. Bell. He was the head of the “Program Review Board” or PRB, through which larger projects had to go, and supervised Coalition Provisional Authority contracting procedures, such as they were, in general.
    There was so much cash in the CPA the smell of it mixed with the sewage overflowing from the palace’s toilets.
    Now the corruption is taking a new turn – joint venture corruption between newly empowered Iraqis and foreigners. This is the corruption of Iraqi procurement and Iraqi licensing.

  4. jonst says:

    From the article: “A previously unknown Iraqi group claimed responsibility for the killings, which remain unsolved.”
    Wouldn’t it have been helpful to share with the reader what the “group” has done, if anything, since the killing? IOW….was this killing the only time this group surfaced?

  5. Cujo359 says:

    As someone who worked for quite some time in the defense industry, I’ve found the level of waste and corruption in Iraq both amazing and appalling. On the contracts I worked, losing a plane load of plain copy paper would have gotten us into all sorts of hot water. Losing a plane load of weapons or money, without consequences, would have been unthinkable. Soldiers’ lives have been lost thanks to shoddy work, and sometimes the work wasn’t done at all. The system of audits and inspections that we were used to where I worked seems to have been completely missing in Iraq contract work.
    I’m glad to see that these things are finally being investigated. They should be.

  6. greg0 says:

    When Bush said he was bringing freedom to Iraq, it wasn’t a democratic freedom. It was no-strings-attached economic freedom. And not for the masses in Iraq, either.

  7. MRW. says:

    Then they bloody well better start with the $2.3 trillion missing from the Pentagon, which Donald Rumsfeld called “A matter of life and death” on Sept 10, 2001, and which CBS reported here:

  8. MRW. says:

    Here is another article printed in The Independent (UK)
    A ‘fraud’ bigger than Madoff
    Senior US soldiers investigated over missing Iraq reconstruction billions

    By Patrick Cockburn in Sulaimaniyah, Northern Iraq

  9. Ignoring for the moment fraud committed by serving officers, the contracting for any and all DOD contracts in wartime and peacetime should also be governed by a RENEGOTIAN BOARD insisted upon by President Truman and created during the WWII era when Truman still a Senator. This statute now expired after tremendous lobbying by the big defense contractors allowed the federal government to look back to recover unreasonable profiteering during WWII and the Korean War.

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