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Funds for SIGIR, agency charged with oversight of Iraq reconstruction, set to expire in March

Ernesto Londoño – (The Washington Post) – January 19, 2013 – George Lee, a Kuwait-based U.S. defense contractor who was reaping millions as America’s quagmire in Iraq deepened, sent an e-mail to an Army major who awarded bids in Baghdad, warning her not to visit him.

“None of us want Uncle Sam, or anyone else, looking where they should not be looking,” he wrote in one of the trove of messages and intercepted phone calls that exposed the biggest fraud conspiracy from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So far, 22 people have been indicted and $67 million has been recovered in that single scheme, which remains under investigation.

But the little-known agency that uncovered the scam is about to close its doors, even though Lee remains a fugitive and 91 additional criminal investigations into the disappearance of Iraq reconstruction funds remain unsolved. Read the remainder of this entry »

VA, DoD seek better data on burn-pit exposure

By Kelly Kennedy – Staff writer – Army Times
Posted : Wednesday Feb 24, 2010 9:43:08 EST

As Veterans Affairs Department officials laid out a plan for the Institute of Medicine to look for links between certain symptoms and burn-pit exposure, they also quizzed Defense Department scientists about what they’ve already done in that regard.

“We have a particular need to solve this as best as we can,” said Victoria Cassano, acting director of VA’s Environmental Agents Service. “You tell us what the science is. You tell us what the evidence is. Do we have enough to [move] forward with a presumption or not?”

At the first meeting of the IOM’s Committee on the Long-Term Health Consequences of Exposure to Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, Cassano asked the panel to help VA determine if the symptoms of several sick service members could be linked to exposure to smoke from open-air burn pits in the war zones. Read the remainder of this entry »