Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Politics

Executive

What Boondoggle? Carney unaware of $34M military HQ troops won't use

carney_jay_071013.jpg

July 10, 2013: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House. (AP)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney apparently isn't reading his hometown paper. 

The Washington Post carried a fairly explosive story on Wednesday about a $34 million military headquarters in southwestern Afghanistan that probably will never be used by U.S. forces. A scathing inspector general letter was also released Wednesday morning on the war-zone boondoggle. 

But asked on Thursday whether President Obama was outraged by the waste, Carney said he hadn't heard anything about it. 

"I would have to take the question. I haven't seen the report," Carney said. 

He added: "But we're obviously outraged by wasteful spending in general  -- again, I'm not aware of this report, or any specifics about the base that you described." 

The "specifics" were trumpeted in the media on Wednesday, and in the publicly released inspector general letter. 

The 64,000-square-foot facility was ordered built at Camp Leatherneck shortly after President Obama ordered a surge in southern Afghanistan in 2009. Contract officers reportedly ignored pleas by a top commander to halt construction and today, there are warnings the building might have to be destroyed. 

"The building will probably be demolished," John F. Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said in a letter to Pentagon leaders, citing the opinion of military officials his office spoke with. 

Another option is to give it to the Afghans, but doing so would require another major overhaul. 

Sopko and others raised alarm at the fact the project continued despite the diminishing need for it. In his letter, Sopko said it appeared to be one of the "best constructed" buildings he's seen in the country. 

"Unfortunately, it is unused, unoccupied, and presumably will never be used for its intended purpose," he said. "Military officials explained that this is an example of what is wrong with military construction in general -- once a project is started, it is very difficult to stop."