Pentagon's wasteful spending in Iraq totals at least $1 billion
15 June 2004
WASHINGTON, June 15 (HalliburtonWatch.org) - The auditing arm of Congress estimated that $1 billion of U.S. taxpayer money was wasted in Iraq because of illegal overcharges by government contractors, but that the total losses due to waste could amount to "billions" of dollars. The estimation was provided by U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, who is the head of the General Accounting Office of Congress. The $1 billion figure represents about two percent of the $60 billion spent by the federal government in Iraq between March 2003 and June 2004. Walker said estimating the figure of government waste in Iraq is difficult because the Pentagon's accounting system is "abysmal." He said Halliburton's overcharges for meals served to troops in Iraq and Kuwait are typical of the kind of overcharging that occurs in federal contracts. The Pentagon's Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) said Halliburton's KBR unit overcharged the government by $186 million for meals it served to troops at 60 dining facilities throughout Iraq and Kuwait. The Pentagon currently refuses to pay that amount and continues to conduct a broad overview of Halliburton's method for tabulating bills it sends to the government. The DCAA said KBR and its subcontractors over-esimated by 36 percent the number of troops who were served meals. But KBR said it over-estimated the number of troops by 19 percent. Nontheless, it had sent a bill to the Pentagon requesting payment for those undelivered meals. Both the GAO and DCAA officials testified today at a hearing of the House Committee on Government Reform, which focused primarily on overcharges made by Halliburton.