'Tens of Billions' Wasted on War Contractors: Report

'Criminal behavior and blatant corruption' a bad combo with 'ill-conceived projects'

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 1, 2011 7:27 AM CST

(Newser) – The US has misspent “tens of billions of dollars” on contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan—at minimum—according to a new report from a bipartisan commission set up to scrutinize the issue. The report bemoaned problems like “ill-conceived projects,” “poor planning and oversight by the US government, as well as poor performance on the part of contractors,” and even “criminal behavior and blatant corruption,” according to the Atlantic.

“War by its nature entails waste,” committee member Jim Webb tells CNN. “But the scale of the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan also reflects the toxic interplay of huge sums of money pumped into relatively small economies and an unprecedented reliance on contractors.” The report criticizes the government for too routinely using contractors for too many tasks—including monitoring other contractors. It also complained that “untrustworthy” companies continue to win contracts, because there are barriers to suspending or banning them, the Huffington Post notes. A PDF of the entire report can be found here.

An armed Private Security Detail (PSD) with the London based AEGIS security company, guards US contractors overseeing the delivery of vehicles to Iraqi security forces, April 26, 2008.   (Getty Images/AFP)
\In this Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2007 file photo, Blackwater security contractors are seen inside a helicopter above central Baghdad, Iraq.   (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
In this Nov. 2, 2009, file photo, Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan Commissioner Dov Zakheim, right, asks a question during a hearing on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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