Monday, September 29, 2003

Rumsfeld's Secret Pentagon Slushfund Discovered

"TAMPA - The U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base inflated budget proposals at the Pentagon's request last year to hide $20-million from Congress, according to documents obtained by the St. Petersburg Times.

Special Operations officials divided the money among six projects so the money would not attract attention. They also instructed their own budget analysts not to mention it during briefings with congressional aides, the documents show.

The Pentagon's inspector general has launched an investigation. House Appropriations Chairman C.W. Bill Young, R-Largo, said he will ask Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during a hearing Tuesday whether the Pentagon intentionally deceived Congress."

. . .

It is unclear what the Pentagon intended to do with the $20-million, or what became of the money. Young surmised that the money could have been used as a contingency fund, available to Rumsfeld to use at his discretion. While $20-million is relatively modest in a Pentagon budget of almost $400-billion, Young said, if all the armed services are doing it the amount could grow significantly.

"I don't know if it's been done before," he said, "or if it's common practice with the secretary."



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