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thedrifter
05-21-03, 06:31 AM
May 19, 2003

Emergency terrorism funds spending questioned

By Jonathan D. Salant
Associated Press


Even if it follows official guidelines, the Pentagon cannot be sure it is properly spending $38 billion in emergency funds allocated to fight terrorism, congressional investigators said Monday.
Defense Department instructions are too vague to ensure the money goes for emergencies rather than ordinary expenditures, according to a report by the General Accounting Office. The cash has been allocated by Congress since Sept. 11, 2001.

ďIn the absence of detailed guidance, command officials were sometimes uncertain on whether expenses were allowable and often had to use their best judgment,Ē the GAO said.

The Pentagon is revising its guidelines for spending the money and is developing a more detailed accounting of how the money already has been spent, the GAO said. The agency said it was making no new recommendations.

As an example of vague current guidelines, the GAO cited the Pentagonís decision to allow emergency funds to be spent on National Guard and Reserve troops. The guidelines did not say, however, if the money could be spent on special pay, transportation, equipment or anything else relating to mobilizing the forces, the agency said.

The emergency money can be spent for certain broad needs, but those categories do not coincide with the Defense Departmentís regular accounts. That makes it harder to track the money, the GAO said. For example, the emergency categories include airport security, responses to crises, and counterterror. Pentagon accounts include personnel, construction and research and development.

In addition, emergency allocations often are mixed with regular defense accounts, thus making more difficult the determination of exactly how the special funds are being spent.www.gao.gov/new.items/d03346.pdf




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Copyright 2003 The Associated Press.


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