Author, Shadow Force: Private Security Contractors in Iraq
A Hundred Billion Dollars Up in Smoke
It is a pity that last week's Senate Armed Services committee hearing on “Department of Defense Efficiencies Initiatives” did not get more coverage, as there were some startling assertions made.
Consider what Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said. McCaskill, by the way, is more qualified than most members of Congress to talk on the subject of contracting. During her years as a prosecutor she conducted performance audits on state programs. She was named as one of the select senators to sit on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, formerly known as the Truman Committee. In fact, she was a co-sponsor of a major bill that established a modern day Truman Committee called the Wartime Contracting Commission, charged with investigating wasteful, fraudulent and abusive contracts in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In addition to working to establish a committee to examine wartime contracting, in 2009 she was named chairman of a new subcommittee that investigates contracting abuses throughout the federal government. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight strives to root out government waste by focusing on contracts and the means by which the federal government provides accountability to those contracts.
So when she says the following we should pay attention:
I–I'm a conservative person when it comes to estimating numbers, because of my auditing background. I think it's very conservative to say that we've had $100 billion go up in smoke in Iraq, from bad contracting, that it's not as if there weren't competing people who could have been brought in; it just was easier not to. And so, I urge you to keep us posted on how you're integrating that kind of contracting into the contracting reforms.
Phi Beta Iota: It occurs to us, reading this, that “Deep Corruption” is the equivalent of “Deep Secrecy.” Deep Corruption is corruption built into the system as legal or “within the bounds of reasonable dishonesty.” Individuals can claim to be honorable, and believe themselves to be honorable, but in “going along” they are in fact part of Deep Corruption.