Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Missing Trillions

The 9/11 deniers, especially Uncle Fetzer, have made a big deal about the $2.3 trillion "missing" from the Pentagon, that Donald Rumsfeld announced the day before September 11th. The implication being that Rumfseld stole all the money and was using the attacks as a distraction to cover up this fact. To quote Fetzer:

This last January the Army Corps of Engineers gave Halliburton subsidiary, Brown and Root, 400 million dollars to build detention centers in the United States for the purpose of unspecified programs. There are or will be anywhere from 40 to 400 of these camps. I have often wondered what Donald Rumsfeld was doing with the 2.3 trillion dollars he reported to congress was missing from the Pentagon's budget that he could not account for on.

This claim always seemed silly. For one thing, the 2001 defense budget was only $289 billion, so even if Rumsfeld had pulled off the incredible feat of stealing every last penny, we would barely be approaching $2.3 trillion. So I decided to look up the original source for this story. And found it here, in a speech that Rumsfeld gave at the "DOD Acquisition and Logistics Excellence Week Kickoff—Bureaucracy to Battlefield ".

Was this some shocking revelation by Rumsfeld that trillions had been embezzled from the Pentagon budget (emphasis added)?

The technology revolution has transformed organizations across the private sector, but not ours, not fully, not yet. We are, as they say, tangled in our anchor chain. Our financial systems are decades old. According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. We cannot share information from floor to floor in this building because it's stored on dozens of technological systems that are inaccessible or incompatible.

We maintain 20 to 25 percent more base infrastructure than we need to support our forces, at an annual waste to taxpayers of some $3 billion to $4 billion. Fully half of our resources go to infrastructure and overhead, and in addition to draining resources from warfighting, these costly and outdated systems, procedures and programs stifle innovation as well. A new idea must often survive the gauntlet of some 17 levels of bureaucracy to make it from a line officer's to my desk. I have too much respect for a line officer to believe that we need 17 layers between us.

This wasn't some shocking revelation from Rumsfeld regarding money stolen from the budget, on the contrary, this was a reference in passing, in a speech to logisticians, regarding the fact that there were decades of data, which they are unable to efficiently access because of out-of-date computer systems. Once again, just like the PNAC "Transformation" they misrepresent a call for a technological change as some type of nefarious conspiracy.

Update: I forgot to mention, but Fetzer has not only argued that the attacks were a distraction from this announcement, but that a missile was fired at the Pentagon in an attempt to assassinate the accountants who were searching for this missing money.

The West Wing was a peculiar choice for a terrorist attack, since it was in the final stages of reconstruction and was largely bereft of personnel and records. But one team that occupied that space was a group of accountants, auditors, and budget experts who were, I would surmise, attempting to track that missing $2.3 trillion. The impact of the plane could not be guaranteed to kill them. Sending a missile would take them by surprise and could be more carefully targeted. So maybe there is a rational explanation, after all.

Kind of odd, considering Rumsfeld was the one complaining about the problem in the first place.

25 Comments:

At 09 November, 2006 11:07, Blogger Avery Dylan said...

Like hey man, I mean you're supposed to read the WHOLE thing, and in context?

Wow!

You hear that Jason?

 
At 09 November, 2006 11:37, Blogger Manny said...

If Rummy didn't disappear $2.3 trillion, how the hell are all us shills getting paid to hide teh twoof?

I mean, my checks clear. The money has to come from somewhere, doesn't it?

 
At 09 November, 2006 11:54, Blogger pomeroo said...

I've addressed this before on 9/11 Conspiracy Smasher, but you would think that even the loons might pause for a moment to reflect that they wouldn't know anything about the "missing" 2.3 trillion dollars IF RUMSFELD HADN'T TOLD THEM!

Like so many aspects of this idiotic "controversy," this one is beyond stupid. Imagine--the man "stole" TRILLIONS of dollars. Are there any fantasists who aren't either demonstrably insane or adolescents?

 
At 09 November, 2006 11:58, Blogger Swing Dangler said...

More on a coverup and a whistle blower regarding money and the Pentagon from ABC News.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/
2002/01/29/
eveningnews/main325985.shtml

 
At 09 November, 2006 12:02, Blogger Swing Dangler said...

Anyone use an extra $8000?

Naw no big deal its just our money.

 
At 09 November, 2006 12:06, Blogger pomeroo said...

So, Swing Dangler, what's the conclusion? Is Fetzer a complete moron, or is he a conman who assumes that he is addressing an audience of fools? Or--my guess-is the truth a combination of the two?

 
At 09 November, 2006 12:12, Blogger Jujigatami said...

So where does one hide 2.3 trillion dollars?

Couldn't Rummy just have used it to pay our budget deficit?

That would have assured the GOP the elections!

Its not like you can just hide 2.3 TRILLION dollars under your mattress.

 
At 09 November, 2006 12:25, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the link that swing dangler provided gives the subject a fair treatment.

 
At 09 November, 2006 12:51, Blogger James B. said...

More on a coverup and a whistle blower regarding money and the Pentagon from ABC News.


A coverup? Rumsfeld is the one arguing that the Pentagon needs to track the money better, and spend the money more economically. Read the speech!

This money isn't sitting around in a slush fund at $8,000 each, this is money that the Pentagon has spent over the last 50 years, mostly on completely legitimate programs, that it can't track because of their antique accounting and information systems.

Rumsfeld is the one criticizing this and calling for reform, and somehow through some amazing conspiracy theory logic you have managed to make him responsible for the problem.

 
At 09 November, 2006 14:01, Blogger pomeroo said...

James b., what is amazing to you, a sane and intelligent person, is understandable when the mental makeup of the typical fantasist is taken into account. That type has a tenuous connection to reality. There is an emotionally-based position to be upheld at all costs, facts be damned, and events occurring in real-time simply have no effect, one way or the other.

Of course, the loons didn't bother to read Rumsfeld's speech. That speech concerns itself with real-world events and addresses a logistical problem. The loons don't care that Rumsfeld is complaining about antiquated data-storage systems. Such mundane matters don't fit into their mad conspiracy theory. Rumsfeld can't merely be a public figure, to be supported or opposed. He must become a Marvel Comics super-villain.

 
At 09 November, 2006 14:37, Blogger James B. said...

To put this in words that even a conspiracy theorists could undestand, let me use an example.

I have made, say, $200,000 over the past 5 years. If I sat down with an accountant though, and he asked me to show where this money went, I could probably only come up with half of it, that has gone for the big ticket items like my mortgage, car payment and such. That leaves $100,000, that although it most likely went for legitimate things, I cannot account for.

My accountant would not start screaming at me that I had $100,000 missing and that I was trying to pull off some type of scam. Instead he would suggest that I buy a copy of Quicken, and more carefully track my expenditures.

That is what Rumsfeld was saying.

 
At 09 November, 2006 15:05, Blogger Swing Dangler said...

Genius James, read the ABC article. Whistle blowers and cover ups, not from a whack job this time!!

No comment on here on Fetzer, just the fact that a lot of money is missing according to the ABC article. Usually after reading a post of James's, I will go find other information to see what is being talked about and base my thoughts on that rather than the CTers. Did Rummy steal it? Hell I don't know. Sounds to me like it is a little political payback after resigning. If he did get some of those greenbacks, the mother fucker better buy better suits and ties!

Point is there is a ton of money missing and 'they' the Pentagon, GAO, etc. ain't doing shit about it.

Maybe old Rummy should have looked after his own house a little better.
Maybe that sad ass excuse for a Sec. of Defense should have brought this issue to the forefront when he took the job instead of after leaving the job. Point is its our money and again, no one is being held accountable. I hate to think that we are losing troopers lives because we can't afford body armor, upgraded humvees, etc. etc. A friend from Iraq who just came back had to fashion gel pack windows from other Humvees on top of his .50 cal turret for protection. Glad he did, because when the IED hit, it saved his life.
But the Pentagon 'loses' 2.3 trillion and we brush it aside because a CT thinks the SED stole? WTF. How about contacting a congressman and demanding an investigation? Maybe being a productive citizen?
Oh wait nevermind, you have to do background checks on Scholars for Truth.

But go on James, lets not make a big deal about a few trillion stand in the way of accountable democracy. Geez and didn't you use to serve our great country?

And considering your over simplifed example, we are talking about Trillions of dollars, tax payers money unaccounted for. So that is ok Jimbo? WTF kind of world are you living in? Do you think it is ok to let politicians off the hook when it comes to accountability to the American people?

You don't think maybe some of that money ended up in questionable contractors hands, black budgets, arms deals, a little lining ofthe pockets, the next big Bradley Infantry Fighting vehicle fiasco, etc, etc? Just an accounting quirk eh? Upgrade the software and the money returns eh?

 
At 09 November, 2006 15:22, Blogger James B. said...

And considering your over simplifed example, we are talking about Trillions of dollars, tax payers money unaccounted for. So that is ok Jimbo? WTF kind of world are you living in?

No, I don't think it is OK, and neither did Rumsfeld, he was the one making a speech criticizing the system. Nice of you to completely twist my words like that.

Remember, Rumsfeld had only been SoD for 7 months at this point, he was hardly responsible for designing the Pentagon's accounting system over the past couple of decades.

 
At 09 November, 2006 17:43, Blogger The Reverend Schmitt., FCD. said...

Genius James, read the ABC article. Whistle blowers and cover ups, not from a whack job this time!!

Yes. The whack jobs are the ones who didn't actually understand the content of the article. You can recognise them by the fact they shriek that trillions of dollars are missing, or that Rumsfeld's nefariously behind it, or that the investigators of it were all killed in the Pentagon. There is an immense problem, no one disputed that - in fact James' first comment acknowledged outright that it is, just before you claimed he said exactly the opposite.

So yes, there is a legitimate cause for great concern - it's just filtered through Fetzer's stupidncrazy-o-vision (also comes in blue and white with a star in the middle flavour) and gobbled up by people who don't bother reading past the headlines. There are real issues here: which Fetzer, and now you, are ignoring; once again ignoring real-world concerns and problems in favour of gazing absently at your own navels. Here's to five more years of lint.

 
At 09 November, 2006 23:08, Blogger Alex said...

Remember, Rumsfeld had only been SoD for 7 months at this point, he was hardly responsible for designing the Pentagon's accounting system over the past couple of decades.

I don't know how you stay so patient around this clown James. Personally I'd like nothing better than to gag him with some duct tape and a month-old pair of trench socks.

 
At 10 November, 2006 09:58, Blogger default.xbe said...

A friend from Iraq who just came back had to fashion gel pack windows from other Humvees on top of his .50 cal turret for protection. Glad he did, because when the IED hit, it saved his life.

didnt i read that on reuters last year?

but honestly, what do you think money spent 50 years ago is going to do to fix a design flaw in a humvee? you think if they had kept the reciept for the silverware on the USS Enterprise your freind wouldnt have had to use makeshift armor?

 
At 14 November, 2006 08:25, Blogger Swing Dangler said...

didnt i read that on reuters last year?

Sarcasm again?

Alex Are you going to contribute anything but personal opinions on this blog in between suckin' James and Pat's peter? Your about the worst case of a "Moderator Suck Up" as I ever seen.

 
At 14 November, 2006 13:35, Blogger Alex said...

Swinger, when I want your lip, I'll rattle my zipper.

 
At 14 June, 2007 23:06, Blogger Erik said...

How pathetic, all these "patriots" who don't care what their corrupt government did with the money- if they actually lost it, they should be fired and prosecuted, but considering that they can't answer the normal questions about 9/11 with anything other than lies, those concerned some of this 2.3 trillion disappeared into black budgets for funding illegal covert operations is justified

 
At 30 May, 2008 17:17, Blogger Tom Bowers said...

Only a foookin IDIOT like Hog Leg Dickkassshole would doubt the missing money. Where did it go? jooos stole it and everybody knows it. Foook YOU Tommy boy and you are worse than DANA REED for stealing everybodys Akins Accelerator money and not giving it back., Rot in HELL subgunsDOTCOM rot in hell.

 
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At 22 May, 2010 06:06, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Donald Rumsfield is a truly great individual. Well versed on many things.

He is a true American and it is not likely that he would do anything to hurt America.

 
At 10 August, 2010 19:25, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this website pay for these comments i see? Surley there are intelligent people out there besides these comments above me i've seen. 2.3 trillion dollars is only tip of the ice berg. Nothing was taken out of context , thats just the hope you people have to rationalize the missing funds . Perhaps it helps you sleep better at night . I sure know many programs those funds could've helped. But seeing these comments clearly the truth is not what this website is after =)

 
At 11 March, 2011 13:40, Blogger truthman said...

Another little tid bit to the truthers.....WHY THE F would they say anything at all if they knew the next day everything would be gone anyway? Its just like the stupid flight 77 theories.....Why would they fake 32 years of Al Qaeda intel and then not at the very least use a look alike plane on the Pentagon?
I often joke about the missile having the luggage, bodies and 95% of the plane duct taped to the missile and they hid the videos because they didnt want anyone to see how badly the missile was taped up.....

 
At 01 April, 2011 15:51, Blogger WPK said...

"Our financial systems are decades old. According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. "

He says that the financial systems are decades old, NOT that the missing money is decades old.

 

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