Biggest War Scandal Yet - BBC Uncovers $23 Billion in Cash 'Lost, Stolen' in Iraq
Jon Ponder | Jun. 13, 2008

You Won't Hear About in U.S. Media Because Bush Has Imposed a Gag Order, According to the BBC

In October, we wrote about the $12 billion in cash — shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills — that the Bush Administration flew into Iraq on cargo pallets and then lost:
"It may well turn out to be the largest war profiteering in history."
– Chairman Henry Waxman

In the year after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nearly 281 million notes, weighing 363 tons, were sent from New York to Baghdad for disbursement to Iraqi ministries and US contractors. Using C-130 planes, the deliveries took place once or twice a month with the biggest of $2,401,600,000 on June 22, 2004, six days before the handover.

Now an investigation by the BBC has determined that as much as $23 billion may have been "lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq":

The BBC's Panorama programme has used US and Iraqi government sources to research how much some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding.

The British television news service also says that the Bush administration has issued a "gagging order" on the subject, so that news about what be the most massive fraud in history will go unreported until he leaves office — or, theoretically after the presidency of his successor, if John McCain wins in November:

A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations.

The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top US companies.

While Presdient George W Bush remains in the White House, it is unlikely the gagging orders will be lifted.

To date, no major US contractor faces trial for fraud or mismanagement in Iraq.

The president's Democratic opponents are keeping up the pressure over war profiteering in Iraq.

Henry Waxman, who chairs the House committee on oversight and government reform, said: "The money that's gone into waste, fraud and abuse under these contracts is just so outrageous, it's egregious.

"It may well turn out to be the largest war profiteering in history."

In the run-up to the invasion, one of the most senior officials in charge of procurement in the Pentagon objected to a contract potentially worth $7bn that was given to Halliburton, a Texan company which used to be run by Dick Cheney before he became vice-president.

Unusually only Halliburton got to bid - and won.

Tom Usher

About Tom Usher

Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.