The Blogiston Post

Politics, money, and war.

Tuesday, October 14

five embassy questions

We finally got around to printing out the $87 billion dollar supplemental appropriations request posted on Global Security's website. The $87 billion dollars represents the second of two supplemental requests. The first supplemental request was approved in early April.

Bpost's thoughts on the second and most recent supplemental: Lots of vague and big numbers. 59 pages long. Some numbers accompanied by, "Additional details will be provided in classified narrative supporting this request." which is not very helpful for understanding where billions of dollars are going.

As we read through the 59 pages, what caught our eye is the following:
For an additional amount for "Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance." $60,500,000, to remain available until expended.

This request would provide $60.5 million for the Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance account. These funds are essential to provide safe and secure temporary facilities.
Temporary? How much is permanent?

Why did this catch our eye? Because US State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, provided some details on March 25, 2003 regarding the first supplemental and a future US Embassy. Given benefit of the doubt, it is possible the funding for the Embassy was cut in the first round from the first supplemental.

From March 25, 2003:
MR. BOUCHER: [...] Now, as the President announced today, we're making a huge supplemental budget request to take care of the needs of the Iraqi people. The total amount in this request for relief and reconstruction is about $3.5 billion.


And I would also note the request includes $187 million to support and expanded State Department operations. Of that amount, we are budgeting $35.8 million for our U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to represent the people of the United States to the free people of Iraq.

QUESTION: How much is that again, sir?

MR. BOUCHER: $35.8 million for our future embassy, including various security measures that will need to be taken.
$35.8 million (first supplemental) + $60.5 million (second supplemental) is one heck of an Embassy. Last bpost heard, US authorities are still operating out of one of Saddam's palaces.

So here is a list of questions we wish a journalist would ask at the next State Department briefing:
1. What is the State Department currently using as an Embassy and/or diplomatic headquarters in Iraq?
2. In regards to the first supplemental, was the previous request for $35.8 million for an Embassy in Iraq included?
3. If so, why is an additional $60.5 million being requested and what are the funds to be spent on?
4. What funds have been spent to date and how were they spent in regards to an Embassy?
5. If no, the $35.8 million was not included earlier, why has the request increased significantly by $24.7 million dollars?
PDF of the second supplemental appropriations request if you too would like to read it.


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