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$6.6 Billion in Iraq Money Stolen? Maybe, Maybe Not. The Real Problem: We Just Don't Know

Ben Farrell
June 21, 2011

Disturbing news recently: most of us have probably heard by now that $6.6 billion in Iraqi oil money entrusted to U.S. hands "may" have been stolen. What's much more disturbing than "possibly" the largest theft of funds in U.S. history? The fact that after three audits over the past several years, The U.S. watchdog on Iraq reconstruction can't say one way or the other.

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen told Fox News, "What we concluded in our previous audits is that it's been virtually impossible to account for what happened to that money."


Attempting some damage control in regards to a statement he had made previously to the Los Angeles Times, Bowen stated, "I said, yes, it would be a very significant serious crime...[T]he reporter was correct that some of it, and perhaps a lot of it, has been stolen. But we don't have a factual basis to reach that conclusion. What we said over and over again is that the lack of controls created vulnerabilities to fraud, waste and abuse."

The lack of controls. This money has passed through many hands. Some unknown amount went through U.S. contractors. Some unknown amount was deposited by our government into Iraq's central bank. The Pentagon directly controlled $2.8 billion of it that cannot be accounted for.

Our CTO Mike Beckley wrote a post recently that touched on this idea of federal financial controls for contractors and vendors. BPM software is specifically designed to provide the controls that ensure transparency and accountability in federal (and commercial) financial operations.

The scale of this "possible" theft in an era when American citizens are facing enormous personal financial uncertainty is outrageous. The fact that this money was only "possibly" stolen, and that we just can't say for sure, is inexcusable.

Ben Farrell, Director, Corporate Communications