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Search for Missing $21 Trillion Comes Up Empty as Pentagon Fails First Audit in 71-Year History

Search for Missing $21 Trillion Comes Up Empty as Pentagon Fails First Audit in 71-Year History

Search for Missing $21 Trillion Comes Up Empty as Pentagon Fails First Audit in 71-Year History
December 21
19:48 2018

WASHINGTON — Despite being legally required to conduct audits since the early 90s and holding a staggering  2.2 trillion in assets, the Pentagon held its first-ever audit this week — which it, unsurprisingly, spectacularly failed.

According to a senior official, the results were so bad that the discrepancies could take “years [to] resolve.” The Department of Defense is handed hundreds of billions of dollars annually — most of which comes from taxpayers.

In a press conference akin to a sketch from a comedy show, Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan asked, “So you guys know why I came down here today?” To which a reporter replied, “To see if we ate donuts?”

Shanahan then casually informed reporters that the notoriously bloated and unchecked Department of Defense had failed its first audit in the Department’s increasingly expansive 71-year history: “We failed the audit but we never expected to pass it.”

At the launch of the audit, which began last week, Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White proclaimed that it “demonstrates our commitment to fiscal responsibility and maximizing the value of every taxpayer dollar that is entrusted to us.”

According to a statement from the Pentagon, the goal of the audit was to reinforce “taxpayer confidence” that their money is spent responsibly. According to figures from the Pew Research Center, only 18 percent of Americans trust that Washington does what is right “all of the time.”

Twelve hundred auditors sifted through financial records spanning the DoD’s massive omnipresence. To put it into perspective, the audit looked at spending on weapons systems, military personnel, and general property — each of which is a broad category for vast amounts of annual spending.

The Pentagon certainly has some explaining to do.

 

A trillion here, a trillion there . . . before you know it, you’re talking real money

Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced that $21 trillion of taxpayer money had simply disappeared. The announcement attributed the missing funds to the DoD’s failure to conduct audit trails in sufficient detail.

Throughout its long unaudited history, the DoD has a notorious record of irresponsible and downright wasteful spending.

Over the past few months, it’s come to light that the DoD has flushed $14,000 (each) on 3D-printed pentagon-shaped toilet seat lids and guzzled cups for $1,280 apiece. In the past, the DoD has also thrown $436 away on hammers, $117 on soap-dish covers and $999 on pliers.

Although wasteful, these are some of the Pentagon’s more innocent purchases. The others, however, come with the cost of human lives.

As a multi-trillion-dollar organization, the United States Department of Defense is currently waging war in eight countries, including Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Libya, and (until troops withdraw and airstrikes stop) Syria.

It’s difficult to tally the cost in civilian lives and mass destruction of an annual budget rapidly approaching the trillion-dollar mark, and that’s something that likely won’t be analyzed in any audit the Pentagon conducts on itself.

Top Photo | Top Image: Jared Rodriguez | Truthout | Flickr CC

Randi Nord is a MintPress News staff writer. She is also co-founder of Geopolitics Alert where she covers U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East with a special focus on Yemen.

The post Search for Missing $21 Trillion Comes Up Empty as Pentagon Fails First Audit in 71-Year History appeared first on MintPress News.

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