A pair of new reports have delivered sharply critical judgments about the State Department’s performance in overseeing work done by the private companies that the government relies on increasingly in Iraq and Afghanistan to carry out delicate security work and other missions.
A State Department review of its own security practices in Iraq assails the department for poor coordination, communication, oversight and accountability involving armed security companies like Blackwater USA, according to people who have been briefed on the report. In addition to Blackwater, the State Department’s two other security contractors in Iraq are DynCorp International and Triple Canopy.
At the same time, a government audit expected to be released Tuesday says that records documenting the work of DynCorp, the State Department’s largest contractor, are in such disarray that the department cannot say “specifically what it received” for most of the $1.2 billion it has paid the company since 2004 to train the police officers in Iraq. [complete article]
President Bush asked Congress on Monday to approve $196 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other national security programs, setting the stage for a new confrontation with Democrats over the administration’s handling of Iraq.
Mr. Bush’s request increased the amount of the proposed spending by $46 billion over the $150 billion already requested this year. Much of the added spending would pay for new armored vehicles designed to withstand attacks by mines and roadside bombs, and a rise in operational costs because of the increase in the force in Iraq, now at more than 160,000 troops. [complete article]