Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Reports: Missing weapons subject of criminal investigations

Iraq weapons are a focus of criminal investigations

Several U.S. agencies are investigating a widening network of criminal cases involving the purchase and delivery of billions of dollars of weapons, supplies and other matériel to Iraqi and American forces, according to American officials. The officials said it amounted to the largest ring of fraud and kickbacks uncovered in the conflict here.

The inquiry has already led to several indictments of Americans, with more expected, the officials said. One of the investigations involves a senior American officer who worked closely with General David Petraeus in setting up the logistics operation to supply the Iraqi forces when Petraeus was in charge of training and equipping those forces in 2004 and 2005, American officials said Monday...

Over the past year, inquiries by U.S. oversight agencies have found serious discrepancies in military records of where thousands of weapons intended for Iraqi security forces actually ended up. None of those agencies concluded that weapons found their way to insurgents or militias.

In their public reports, those agencies did not raise the possibility of criminal wrongdoing, and Petraeus has said that the imperative to provide weapons to Iraqi security forces was more important than maintaining impeccable records.

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune

Auditors Sent to Iraq to Probe Contracts

The Pentagon is sending a team of investigators to Iraq because of the growing number of cases of fraud and other irregularities in contracts involving weapons and supplies for Iraqi forces.

"The (Defense) Department is concerned with the number of contracting improprieties" that have been uncovered, department spokesman Bryan Whitman said Tuesday.

Some members of a team led by Pentagon Inspector General Claude M. Kicklighter are already in Iraq and have started work. The main body of the group, which includes members from around the service branches and other federal agencies, will go next week, said Chris Isleib, another Pentagon spokesman.

The group is going "in response to accountability and control problems," including some problems with "weapons and munitions purchased by the U.S. government and intended for use by Iraqi security forces," Isleib said.

Read the rest at the LA Times

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