06/20/11

Permalink $18 Billion in US Cash Stolen in Post-Invasion Iraq

Last week, an audit by the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction revealed that of the $20 billion flown by the United States to Iraq, some $6.6 billion is still completely unaccounted for and believed stolen. - But Iraqi officials say the amount is much higher, with Parliament Speaker Osama Nujaifi saying that the Iraqi government’s probe found some $18 billion still missing, and that the nation’s parliament is still expecting an answer for where it went. The US shipped the $20 billion in Iraqi government funds (part of the UN’s Oil for Food program) in physical cash, $100 bills stacked on palettes and crammed into the airplanes. There was virtually no effort to keep track of where all these $100 bills went. But while Iraqi officials have discussed suing the US for losing their money, the government now says that the UN Security Council’s resolutions gave the US total immunity from lawsuits related to the 2003 invasion and by extension any money lost or stolen since then.

LA Times: Missing Iraq money may have been stolen, auditors say - Reporting from Washington— After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the George W. Bush administration flooded the conquered country with so much cash to pay for reconstruction and other projects in the first year that a new unit of measurement was born. Pentagon officials determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills. They sent an initial full planeload of cash, followed by 20 other flights to Iraq by May 2004 in a $12-billion haul that U.S. officials believe to be the biggest international cash airlift of all time.

CNN: Feds probe -- for a 3rd time -- loss of billions in Iraqi funds

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