There is no accountability whatsoever on what the government does with our tax dollars. Every year millions of Americans are forced to pay exorbitant taxes and submit to audits. Those unfortunate enough to end up in front of an auditor are often penalized and forced to pay more. What happens when the Pentagon spends MILLIONS on frivolous expenditures they cannot account for, nothing.
The Defense Department spent $43 million on a compressed natural gas fueling station in Afghanistan, while a similar project in Pakistan cost just $300,000 — and now the Pentagon can’t even account for who made the decisions behind the waste, according to an inspector general’s report being released Monday.
John F. Sopko, the inspector general who oversees U.S. spending on Afghanistan reconstruction, called the cost for the green energy project exorbitant and deemed the project ill-conceived.
Just as troubling, he said, was the fact that the Defense Department said because it had shut down the Afghanistan business task force that built the project, it was no longer answering any questions about the decisions it made.
“Frankly, I find it both shocking and incredible that DOD asserts that it no longer has any knowledge about [the task force], an $800 million program that reported directly to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and only shut down a little over six months ago,” Mr. Sopko said in a stern letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
The waste is being revealed at a time when the Pentagon is about to receive an extra $25 billion in funding for the year, thanks to the debt agreement Congress reached last week.
Defense hawks on Capitol Hill, and the Pentagon itself, have said they cannot operate without a huge infusion of cash.
In the case of the gas station, the goal was to try to demonstrate to Afghanistan the feasibility of using compressed natural gas, which the country has, rather than relying on imported oil to fuel vehicles.
It was a project of the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, a Pentagon program designed to try to help the economy recover from Taliban occupation and the American-led war that began in 2001.
But Mr. Sopko said the task force didn’t regularly bother to conduct feasibility studies for its projects, so in the case of the gas station it failed to realize Afghanistan doesn’t have transmission or distribution infrastructure for natural gas, making the project likely a waste from the beginning.
Afghans couldn’t even afford the conversion necessary to make their cars able to run on compressed natural gas, Mr. Sopko said.
The task force plowed ahead anyway, spending $42,718,739 from 2011 through 2014 to build and operate the station, though such projects in Afghanistan should cost only about $200,000.
“To date, DOD has been unable to provide documentation showing why the Sheberghan CNG station cost nearly $43 million,” Mr. Sopko said.
Read the full story here.