Panorama investigates claims that as much as $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or not properly accounted for in Iraq. When the US goes to war, corporate America goes too. There are contracts for caterers, tanker drivers, security guards and even interrogators, many of them through companies with links to the White House. Now more than 70 whistle-blower cases threaten to reveal the scandals behind billions of dollars worth of waste, theft and corruption during the Iraq war.
A total of $23bn (£11.75bn) is under scrutiny. The US justice department has imposed gagging orders which prevent the real scale of the problem emerging. But Panorama’s Jane Corbin has spoken to some of those involved – with astonishing stories to tell of who got rich and who got burned.
She hears allegations of mismanagement, fraud and waste; tales of contractors chosen for their US government connections without a competitive bidding process; contractors inflating their costs and double counting to increase their profits and billions supposed to be used to rebuild the Iraqi military allegedly ending up in the pockets of some Iraqi government officials.
Even the contract to oversee the expenditure went to a company with no relevant qualification in accounting. “They are the quintessential war profiteers,” said a witness to one of the most notorious companies involved. “They made money out of chaos.”