October 11th, 2012
06:35 PM ET

Alleged fraud puts U.S. troops at risk from roadside bombs

By CNN Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence,

A safety alert was issued on Thursday to U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan after investigators found that a contractor allegedly failed to properly carry out a job aimed at reducing the threat of roadside bombs.

The alert that warned troops of possibly heightened danger was issued by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, which oversees spending for that war.

"The fact that we issued an alert in the midst of an ongoing investigation speaks to its urgency," an investigative official, who did not wish to speak publicly, told CNN.

The official, who called the warning "a matter of life and death," said the watchdog agency was tipped to the matter in August by a U.S. service member in Afghanistan.

"They alerted us to the fact that the work was not fixed," the official said.

Phil LaVelle, a spokesman for the special inspector general's office, said the contractor would not be identified while the investigation was ongoing.

The Afghan contractor received more than $360,000 in February for work aimed at combating improvised explosive devices, which kill more U.S. troops than any other single weapon.

The contractor was to install about 125 "culvert denial systems" along a major highway. The plan was to place metal screens under roads so militants could not access storm drains and plant bombs.

But in the safety alert to top military commanders, the special inspector general's office warned that investigators had "identified significant contract fraud" in the installation and inspection of the culvert systems.

The warning added that Afghan contractors reported the job as complete when, in fact, a large number of metal grates were improperly installed or not put in place at all.

The military told Congress this month that improvised explosives are becoming more prevalent in Afghanistan.

Insurgents planted 16,000 last year and that figure is likely to exceed that in 2012. The Pentagon has spent more than $50 billion to combat the threat, even establishing a command dedicated to this one problem.

soundoff (12 Responses)
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  6. Michelle

    Yes....and 2 days AFTER this warning 6 MORE American soldiers were killed by another roadside bomb, one soldier was a good friend of someone dear to me. He served this country is so many wonderful ways and was to come home for good in December to a wife and three young, beautiful children. And I am not seeing one single article on headline news about it on any of the media networks. Such an insane tragedy. All of it. 🙁

    October 18, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Reply
  7. lance

    leave afganistan and spend the money on home infrastructure. bin ladden is dead.

    October 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  8. The Producer

    This is so outrageous and disgusting. Whoever put that contractor in favour during the RfP process for this job should be buried alive together with that contractor. This is worse than friendly fire because the crime was done deliberately for money ... I am not an American and this is not the purest form of capitalism (as someone else described it in his comment), this is simply a primitve act of the lowest.

    October 12, 2012 at 6:53 am | Reply
  9. George Patton

    Nothing is terrorist R'ats proof in that part of the world.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Reply
  10. Patrick

    There is always someone trying to make a buck out of this obscene war one way or another! After all, we're living in a Capitalist Society!

    October 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      You are correct Patrick, people will always try to make easy money in wars, so we need to employ more drones in terrorist infested Pakistan and Afghanistan.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Reply
  11. wow

    Who do you think hired that contracter?

    Obama The LLama

    October 11, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Reply

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