Billions in U.S. Reconstruction Funds for Iraq Wasted, Some Diverted to Terrorists

Soldiers guarding pallets of money in IraqOver $13 billion that the U.S. sent to Iraq to pay for reconstruction projects has been wasted, stolen or diverted to al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to Salam Adhoob, a former chief investigator for Iraq's Commission on Public Integrity. Adhoob worked for the Commission for three years, where he oversaw 200 employees. He testified about the waste, fraud and diversion of U.S. funds before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. He told the panel that some of the investigations his and other agencies conducted uncovered "ghost projects" that never existed, or instances in which Iraqi and U.S. contractors did poor-quality work. In one case, Adhoob said that the U.S. had spent $24.4 million on an electricity project in Nineveh province, but that an oversight agency found that it "existed only on paper." He reported that he had a "firsthand, up-close look at corruption" and waste of U.S. funds, and that he eventually was forced to flee Iraq because of death threats.