The Army failed to keep track of more than $1 billion worth of military equipment it transferred to the government of Iraq, according to a Department of Defense audit obtained and released by Amnesty International on Wednesday, The Hill reported.
The 2016 audit, which was not released publicly at the time, only came to light due to Amnesty's Freedom of Information request after repeated attempts to get the information from the Pentagon were ignored.
Amnesty emphasized that some of the military supplies could have ended up with ISIS and pro-Iranian forces.
"This audit provides a worrying insight into the U.S. Army's flawed — and potentially dangerous — system for controlling millions of dollars' worth of arms transfers to a hugely volatile region," said Amnesty's Patrick Wilcken.
"It makes for especially sobering reading given the long history of leakage of U.S. arms to multiple armed groups committing atrocities in Iraq, including the armed group calling itself the Islamic State."
In order to help Iraq fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Congress created the Iraq Train and Equip Fund and appropriated $1.6 billion to it in 2015 and then another $715 million last year.
But the audit said the army did not have a centralized system to track the equipment as it was transferred to the Iraqi government, instead using manually written spreadsheets.
According to the audit, the army acknowledged the mistake and immediately implemented corrective actions and is working to institute an automated system as a long-term solution.
However, a skeptical Amnesty points out that the Pentagon made similar promises in a 2007 Government Accountability Office report which also documented problems tracking equipment being sent to Iraqi forces.
"After all this time and all these warnings, the same problems keep re-occurring," Wilcken said. "This should be an urgent wake-up call for the U.S., and all countries supplying arms to Iraq, to urgently shore up checks and controls.
"Sending millions of dollars' worth of arms into a black hole and hoping for the best is not a viable counter-terrorism strategy; it is just reckless."
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