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Afghan Reconstruction Gets New Watchdog

POSTED: 08:00 AM ET, 05/30/2008 by Derek Kravitz

The appointment of a special inspector general to examine waste and fraud in the reconstruction of Afghanistan comes three months after a congressional deadline to fill the position, The Post's Karen DeYoung reports today.

The White House yesterday named retired Marine Corps Major Gen. Arnold Fields as inspector general for the new watchdog post, which does not require Senate confirmation.

Fields, who serves as deputy director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University in Washington, has also been the chief of staff of Iraq Reconstruction and led the management office of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

Congressional leaders have pushed for the creation of the special inspector general position in response to growing concerns about fraud by contractors in the region.

"Our work in Afghanistan is crucial to our national security and our fight against terrorism," Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said in a September statement regarding the special inspector amendment he authored. "Unfortunately, we have too little information about how U.S. dollars are being spent and whether there is any waste, fraud and abuse. American taxpayers have a right to know that their hard-earned money is being spent wisely, and my amendment will help provide that assurance."

Meanwhile, several federal inspector general offices have objected to the creation of a new special IG for Afghanistan, saying the new office would siphon much-needed funds away from ongoing oversight projects.

By Derek Kravitz |  May 30, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
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