The Pentagon lost track of nearly $1 billion in military hardware in the fiscal year 2020, including equipment for Syrians fighting the remnants of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and over 100 drones in Afghanistan, home to one of the largest concentrations of terrorist groups in the world, an annual government waste report Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) released on Wednesday revealed.
Paul’s assessment came after President Donald Trump blasted the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill as a “disgrace,” urging lawmakers to change the size of the stimulus payments to Americans from $600 per-individual payments to $2,000 and $4,000 per couple.
Citing appropriations for foreign governments when Americans are facing money troubles due to the relentless Chinese coronavirus, Trump criticized the relief bill as filled with unrelated provisions and “wasteful” spending.
The relief bill is attached to a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill to keep the federal government operating until next October.
Paul’s report, which focuses on the fiscal year 2020 (September 1, 2019, through October 30, 2020), noted the U.S. government wasted tens of billions in taxpayer funds while Americans suffered from the economic downfall from the pandemic.
I’ll throw in a new wrinkle this year because SO MANY people are joining in with my grievances that I want to highlight how the word is spreading — your government is out of control, and a LOT of us have grievances.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 23, 2020
Overall, Paul found the feds wasted over $54 billion on spraying alcoholic rats with bobcat urine ($4.5 million) and walking lizards on a treadmill (more than $1.5 million) as Americans reeled from the economic downturn fueled by the pandemic.
The assessment from Paul, a member of the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, indicated that some of the wasteful spending might threaten the United States’ security.
Pentagon officials “potentially lost up to $715,800,000 in equipment designated for Syrians fighting ISIS,” Paul wrote,
Among the lost equipment were “4,144 Category II weapons (sensitive weapons), such as machine guns and grenade launchers,” the report noted,
It suggested the military equipment likely ended in the hands of the enemy in Syria, where both ISIS and its rival, al-Qaeda, maintain a presence.
“The United States has a bad habit of giving materiel to people unwilling or unable to keep hold of it and worse, it often falls into the hands of bad actors,” Paul added in the report.
Jihadis in Syria are not the only ones who may have benefitted from Pentagon negligence regarding military equipment accounting.
The Afghan Taliban has been able to get their hands on high-tech weapons like night vision goggles and lasers stolen from the U.S.-led coalition and local forces or purchased on the black market.
Paul’s report noted that Pentagon carelessness has made it easier for the Afghan narco-terrorist group to get their hands on powerful weapons.
The Taliban is not the only player in Afghanistan. According to the Pentagon, the region is home to one of the largest concentrations of terrorist and extremist groups globally, including ISIS and al-Qaeda.
In the report, Rand wrote:
Most recently, the Department of Defense (DOD) hit another speed bump, when it spent $174,000,000 on contracts to provide drones to the ANA [Afghan National Army], drones which the ANA couldn’t, and didn’t, use enough to make the acquisition cost-effective before DOD and its contractor literally lost track of the drones.
Corrupt U.S.-backed Afghan forces are known to sell American taxpayer-funded weapons to the Taliban.
An unnamed senior American official warned the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a watchdog organization, “U.S. officials have had concerns about a ScanEagle [drone] system [in question] falling into the wrong hands and potentially becoming weaponized,” the government waste report said,
As of late July 2020, “it appears neither DOD nor the ANA can say with certainty where each [drone] vehicle is currently located.”
U.S. enemy Iran is known to work with the Taliban.
Although the U.S. military annihilated ISIS’s territorial caliphate, the group maintains a menacing presence in Syria, where its rival al-Qaeda also operates.
Iran’s terrorist proxy group, the mainly Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces/Units (PMF/U) fighting ISIS, obtained the U.S.-provided M1 Abrams tanks the Iraqi army abandoned. PMF fighters have been targeting U.S. troops and assets in Iraq. They may be behind Sunday’s attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.