When U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld revealed that the Pentagon was missing $2.3 trillion on Sept. 10, 2001, it seemed like a massive amount—little did the American people know that the events that would occur the next day would wipe the missing money from the headlines, and over the next 16 years, the amount of money the government is missing would increase at a rate in excess of $58,000 per second.
Consumer debt in the United States is already an issue, with many ken to cut costs by finding out how to consolidate debt. However, when it comes to national debt, the situation is even more dire and has been for some time. While $2.3 trillion may seem like a lot, another government agency admitted to losing triple the amount in 2009, when former Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman admitted that the Federal Reserve could not account for $9 trillion.
“I have a copy of the Inspector General Act here in front of me. It says, among other things, that it’s your responsibility to conduct and supervise audits and investigations related to the programs and operations of your agency,” Former Rep. Alan Grayson said during a special hearing.
“That’s correct,” Coleman replied.
“So I’m asking you, if your agency has, in fact according to Bloomberg, extended 9 trillion dollars in credit—which, by the way, works out to $30,000 for every single man, woman and child in this country—I’d like to know, if you’re not responsible for investigating that, then who is?” Grayson inquired.
“We have responsibility for the Federal Reserve’s programs and operations—to conduct audits and investigations in that area,” Coleman replied. She went on to claim that she could not comment about specific details while the Federal Reserve was in the middle of a review.
Even when Rep. Grayson specifically asked, “Are you telling me that nobody at the Federal Reserve is keeping track on a regular basis of the losses that occur on what is now a 2-trillion-dollar portfolio?” IG Coleman refused to give him a straight answer.
The Pentagon has only continued to lose money by the trillions since 9/11, and a recent report analyzing the budgets of the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) shows that the total is now more than $21 trillion.
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The report attributes the missing funds to a series of “unsupported journal voucher adjustments” made to the departments’ budgets. These adjustments are not tied to specific accounting transactions, but they are often included in account summaries to cover for balances between systems that cannot be reconciled.
As The Free Thought Project has reported, not only is it likely that the actual amount of money the DoD and HUD cannot account for is much higher than $21 trillion, due to the fact that researchers did not have access to complete data, but the practice of creating counterfeit adjustments appears to be standard procedure.
Perhaps even more troubling than the total amount lost is the fact that fraudulent behavior from HUD and DOD seem to be the standard operating procedure. In fact, the accounting for these funds is so poor, that as Reuters notes, the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) refers to the preparation of the Army’s year-end statements as ‘the grand plug’ — ‘plug’ is accounting jargon for the insertion of made-up numbers.
For every transaction, a so-called ‘journal voucher’ that provides serial numbers, transaction dates and the amount of the expenditure is supposed to be produced. The report specifies that the agency has done such a poor job in providing documentation of their transactions, that there is no way to actually know how $21 trillion has been spent.
When combining the $21 trillion lost by the DoD and HUD with the $9 trillion lost by the Federal Reserve, the grand total stands at more than $30,000,000,000,000 lost by the U.S. government since 9/11.
When multiplying 60 seconds per minute, by 60 minutes per hour, by 24 hours per day, by the 5,947 days that have elapsed since Sept. 11, 2001, the result is approximately 513,820,800 seconds.
If the U.S. government has lost $30,000,000,000,000 in the 513,820,800 seconds since 9/11, then it has lost a total of $58,386 per second.
For the first time in its history, the Pentagon has announced that the Department of Defense is set to undergo a financial audit. However, as Audit the Pentagon Director Rafael DeGennaro noted earlier this year, the Pentagon has been promising to complete an audit for several years.
“Over the last 20 years, the Pentagon has broken every promise to Congress about when an audit would be completed,” DeGennaro told the Guardian. “Meanwhile, Congress has more than doubled the Pentagon’s budget.”
Rachel Blevins is a Texas-based journalist who aspires to break the left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives. Follow Rachel on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.