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U.S. tells auditor in Iraq to close office
By James Glanz / The New York TimesPublished: November 3, 2006
Investigations led by a Republican lawyer named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. in Iraq have sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by well-connected companies like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons it shipped to Iraqi security forces.
And tucked away in a huge military authorization bill that President Bush signed two weeks ago is what some of Bowen's supporters believe is his reward for repeatedly embarrassing the administration: a pink slip.
The order comes in the form of an obscure provision that terminates his federal oversight agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, on Oct. 1, 2007. The clause was inserted by the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee over the objections of Democratic counterparts during a closed-door conference, and it has generated surprise and some outrage among lawmakers who say they had no idea it was in the final legislation.
Bowen's office, which began operation in January 2004 to examine reconstruction money spent in Iraq, was always envisioned as a temporary organization, permitted to continue its work only as long as Congress saw fit. Some advocates for the office, in fact, have regarded its lack of a permanent bureaucracy as the key to its aggressiveness and independence
Originally posted by dgtempe
Thank you for your informative thread.
I have long known that we have been scammed and the proof is overwhelming.
But what Kerry said That takes center stage and it makes a good distraction, huh?
"Contractors know they can push prices up. They know they can be late," said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla). "They know they don't have to perform."
Contractors have done more work in the Iraq war than in any other conflict in American history, performing tasks as varied as serving meals and interrogating prisoners.
Stan Z. Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, a trade organization of government contractors, said they have done their best to do their work under extraordinarily dangerous conditions. "Many of the cases where performance was not what was expected, or even looked shoddy, were due to factors that were external, outside the contractors' control," he said.
The rules for holding contractors in a war zone accountable remain uncertain, with few precedents to go by.
"From a command-and-control point of view, I think we've got a problem. And it's going to be very difficult to solve," said Scott L. Silliman, executive director of the Center for Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke University.
For military contractors, Silliman said, it is unclear which laws apply. For example, they are not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which governs soldiers' behavior. A law passed in 2000 that is supposed to hold contractors responsible if they commit crimes in war zones has never been tested.