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    US Watchdog: Pentagon Cannot Verify if $2 Billion in Equipment Reached Iraq

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    The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed in a report on Thursday that the Pentagon is unaware whether $2 billion worth of military equipment sent to Iraq has ever reached its final destination.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Defense Department cannot demonstrate if materials purchased through the $2 billion Iraq Train-and-Equip Fund (ITEF) reached their intended destinations, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a new report after a months-long probe ordered by Congress.

    "The United States has provided over $2 billion in equipment to Iraq's security forces through the Iraq Train and Equip Fund," the report stated on Thursday. "However, the Department of Defense does not collect timely and accurate transportation information about the equipment purchased through the fund. As a result, DOD can't demonstrate that this equipment reached its intended destinations in Iraq."

    On Wednesday, Amnesty International, citing a 2016 declassified Inspector General report, said the Defense Department failed to track $1 billion in equipment in Iraq and Kuwait. A Pentagon spokesperson told Sputnik earlier on Thursday, however, that Amnesty's allegations were false.

    Congress asked the GAO, the report noted, to review the Pentagon’s "accountability of ITEF-funded equipment." The review and assessment of Pentagon systems and procedures was conducted from September 2016 to May 2017, according to the report.

    The GAO recommended that the Defense Department improve its systems and procedures such as how it records key transportation data in order to better track this equipment.

    Defense Department officials, the report added, attributed the lack of key transportation data in its security cooperation management reporting system to potential interoperability and data reporting issues.

    The GAO is the audit and investigative arm of Congress, whose mission is to improve the performance and accountability of the federal government for Americans by examining the use of public funds.

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    Tags:
    equipment, US Government Accountability Office (GAO), Pentagon, Iraq, United States
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