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As we have noted the federal Department of Defense wastes plenty of money and even spends on hardware that the military doesn’t need or want. Likewise, Obamacare has been incredibly wasteful but according to this report, taxpayers should also be looking at the State Department, which can’t seem to find how they spent $6 billion.
A March 20 “management alert” from the Office of the Inspector General says that “Specifically, over the past 6 years, OIG has identified Department of State (Department) contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all.” This “creates significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions.” Call that a stranglehold on the obvious.
A recent OIG audit of the closeout process for contracts supporting the U.S. Mission in Iraq revealed that contracting officials were unable to provide 33 of 115 contract files requested in an audit. “The value of the contracts in the 33 missing files totaled $2.1 billion.” Similar lapses with the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs involved “in excess of $1 billion.”
It wasn’t all bungling.In another investigation, OIG found “falsified” technical review information in a contract “valued at $100 million.” As the alert says, “corrupt individuals may attempt to conceal evidence of illicit behavior by omitting key documents from the contract file.” But no word on who, exactly, falsified the information or what happened to any corrupt individuals. So this is all aftersight not oversight.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said “this is an issue of which the department is aware and is taking steps to remedy.” She didn’t say which steps, exactly, they were taking. “It’s not an accounting issue,” she said, “I think it’s more like a bureaucratic issue. But it’s not that we’ve lost $6 billion, basically.”
Basically they have lost $6 billion and no surprise that they are trying to play it down. Marie Harf, by the way, is the person who announced that president Obama’s ambassadorial nominees were all highly qualified. As it turned out they couldn’t answer basic questions about countries such as Norway and Argentina where they have been tapped to serve.