Drudge tries to create Obama scandal with 2003-2007 Iraq reconstruction funds
Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN
The Drudge Report is attempting to link $8.7 billion in Iraq reconstruction money that the DOD reportedly cannot account for to the Obama administration by blaring the headline "Defense Dept. can't account for $8.7 billion" under an image of President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. But the Associated Press article Drudge linked to reported that the funds in question predate the Obama administration.
From the Drudge Report, accessed July 27:
In fact, the Associated Press article Drudge links to makes clear that the funds in question were "withdrawn" from the U.N. Security Council's Development Fund for Iraq "between 2004 and 2007."
From the July 27 AP article:
A U.S. audit has found that the Pentagon cannot account for over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraq reconstruction money, spotlighting Iraqi complaints that there is little to show for the massive funds pumped into their cash-strapped, war-ravaged nation.
The $9.1 billion in question came from the Development Fund for Iraq, which was set up by the U.N. Security Council in 2003. The DFI includes revenues from Iraq's oil and gas exports, as well as frozen Iraqi assets and surplus funds from the defunct, Saddam Hussein-era U.N. oil-for-food program.
Iraq had given the U.S. authorization to tap into the fund, which is held in New York, for humanitarian and reconstruction efforts, withdrawing that approval in December 2007.
With the establishment of the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq shortly after the start of the U.S. invasion in 2003 until mid-2004, about $20 billion was placed into the account. The $9.1 billion audited by the Iraq reconstruction inspector general were funds withdrawn from that account between 2004 and 2007.