'Unchecked Waste, Fraud & Abuse': Americans Berate Pentagon Over Failed Audit

© AP Photo / Andreea AlexandruServicemen of the "Fighting Eagles" 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, walk by tanks that arrived via train to the US base in Mihail Kogalniceanu, eastern Romania, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017.
Servicemen of the Fighting Eagles 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, walk by tanks that arrived via train to the US base in Mihail Kogalniceanu, eastern Romania, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. - Sputnik International
The Pentagon has failed the first-ever comprehensive audit of its whopping $2.7 trillion in assets, with just five among more than 50 DoD entities earning a passing grade, with mismanagement of funds, inventory discrepancies, security problems and other issues plaguing the rest.

On Friday, a day after the audit's findings were publicized, the Pentagon confirmed that it could not provide the public with "reasonable assurance" on how its spends taxpayers' money, with major problems found in various departments' accounting practices, including pervasive misstatements on spending, the identification of inventory which didn't actually exist in the real world, issues with contractors' recordkeeping, and the purchase of millions of dollars of equipment which is then stored unused in DoD warehouses.

The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense - Sputnik International
Pentagon Fails Audit as Official Admits 'We Never Thought We Were Going to Pass'
Pentagon officials did their best to take the sting out of the audit's findings, saying it was an important milestone for the audit to have taken place at all. "We never thought we were going to pass an audit, right? Everyone was betting against us, that we wouldn't even do the audit," Deputy Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan said. Acting Pentagon inspector general Glenn Fine said that "the most important thing this year is not the [findings], but that the department takes the audit seriously and seeks to fix the identified deficiencies, which the department is doing."

Others were not as optimistic, however, with everyone from politicians and journalists to ordinary Americans venting their frustrations on the Pentagon's bloated state on Twitter.

"This is exactly why we must #AuditThePentagon," Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee tweeted. "The unchecked waste, fraud, and abuse at the Pentagon is an insult to the American people," she stressed. 

Other politicians, Republican and Democrat alike, chimed in with similar commentary, voicing concerns and trying to take the credit for the audit initiative, which was one of President Trump's campaign pledges in 2016.

Some users suggested that the egregious waste was an example of Washington's misplaced priorities, pointing out that just a fraction of what is spent on defence could easily fund other important programs, such as healthcare.

Others were simply baffled by the Pentagon's nonchalant approach, saying officials were treating it "as if failing an audit is no big deal," and pointing out that for ordinary Americans, failing an audit could mean jail time.

Some users were concerned about the price tag of the audit itself.

Finally, a few took a less serious, more sarcastic approach, saying findings of waste at the Pentagon weren't exactly a surprise.

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