Pentagon "misplaces" $2.3 trillion
Rumsfeld admitted that the Pentagon misplaced
$2.3 trillion. This money has disappeared
nobody knows where it's gone. Government officials
have blamed the accounting systems the
US Department of Defense has failed to produce
independently audited accounts since 1995.
See the full CBS News story:
(Note: the full CBS text is also given below)
US Department of Defense confirms trillions
The $2.3 trillion figure is confirmed in the
following DoD documents (which include transcripts
of testimony before the House Budget Committee
and a speech by Rumsfeld):
For related details see:
CBS News story 29/1/02: The War on Waste
(CBS) On Sept. 10, Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld declared war. Not on foreign terrorists,
"the adversary's closer to home. It's the
Pentagon bureaucracy," he said.
He said money wasted by the military poses
a serious threat.
"In fact, it could be said it's a matter
of life and death," he said.
Rumsfeld promised change but the next day
Sept. 11 the world changed and in the
rush to fund the war on terrorism, the war on
waste seems to have been forgotten.
"According to some estimates we cannot
track $2.3 trillion in transactions,"
$2.3 trillion that's $8,000 for every
man, woman and child in America. To understand
how the Pentagon can lose track of trillions,
consider the case of one military accountant
who tried to find out what happened to a mere
"We know it's gone. But we don't know
what they spent it on," said Jim Minnery,
Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
Minnery, a former Marine turned whistle-blower,
is risking his job by speaking out for the first
time about the millions he noticed were missing
from one defense agency's balance sheets. Minnery
tried to follow the money trail, even crisscrossing
the country looking for records.
"The director looked at me and said 'Why
do you care about this stuff?' It took me aback,
you know? My supervisor asking me why I care
about doing a good job," said Minnery.
He was reassigned and says officials then covered
up the problem by just writing it off.
"They have to cover it up," he said.
"That's where the corruption comes in.
They have to cover up the fact that they can't
do the job."
The Pentagon's Inspector General "partially
substantiated" several of Minnery's allegations
but could not prove officials tried "to
manipulate the financial statements."
Twenty years ago, Department of Defense Analyst
Franklin C. Spinney made headlines exposing
what he calls the "accounting games."
He's still there, and although he does not speak
for the Pentagon, he believes the problem has
"Those numbers are pie in the sky. The
books are cooked routinely year after year,"
Another critic of Pentagon waste, Retired Vice
Admiral Jack Shanahan, commanded the Navy's
2nd Fleet the first time Donald Rumsfeld served
as Defense Secretary, in 1976.
In his opinion, "With good financial oversight
we could find $48 billion in loose change in
that building, without having to hit the taxpayers."