On Sept. 10, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
declared war. Not on foreign terrorists, "the adversary's closer to
home. It's the Pentagon bureaucracy," he said.
He said money wasted by the military poses a serious threat.
"In fact, it could be said it's a matter of life and death," he said.
promised change but the next day – Sept. 11-- the world changed and in
the rush to fund the war on terrorism, the war on waste seems to have
Just last week President Bush announced, "my 2003 budget calls for more than $48 billion in new defense spending."
More money for the Pentagon, CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports, while its own auditors admit the military cannot account for 25 percent of what it spends.
"According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions," Rumsfeld admitted.
trillion — that's $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America. To
understand how the Pentagon can lose track of trillions, consider the
case of one military accountant who tried to find out what happened to a
mere $300 million.
"We know it's gone. But we don't know what they spent it on," said Jim Minnery, Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
a former Marine turned whistle-blower, is risking his job by speaking
out for the first time about the millions he noticed were missing from
one defense agency's balance sheets. Minnery tried to follow the money
trail, even crisscrossing the country looking for records.
director looked at me and said 'Why do you care about this stuff?' It
took me aback, you know? My supervisor asking me why I care about doing a
good job," said Minnery.
He was reassigned and says officials then covered up the problem by just writing it off.
have to cover it up," he said. "That's where the corruption comes in.
They have to cover up the fact that they can't do the job."
Pentagon's Inspector General "partially substantiated" several of
Minnery's allegations but could not prove officials tried "to manipulate
the financial statements."
Twenty years ago, Department of
Defense Analyst Franklin C. Spinney made headlines exposing what he
calls the "accounting games." He's still there, and although he does not
speak for the Pentagon, he believes the problem has gotten worse.
"Those numbers are pie in the sky. The books are cooked routinely year after year," he said.
critic of Pentagon waste, Retired Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, commanded
the Navy's 2nd Fleet the first time Donald Rumsfeld served as Defense
Secretary, in 1976.
In his opinion, "With good financial
oversight we could find $48 billion in loose change in that building,
without having to hit the taxpayers."