US spent $85 bn on contracts in Iraq

August 13th, 2008 - 5:22 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 13 (DPA) The US government has spent $85 billion paying contractors for work in Iraq since the war began more than five years ago, according to a report released Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The amount spent, which does not include figures for 2008, accounts for 20 percent of all spending - including military operations - by the US government in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion, CBO said.

Seventy percent of the contracts were for work done in Iraq, and abut 40 percent of the paid contractor personnel were Iraqi citizens, it said.

From 2003 through 2007, the US has spent $446 billion in Iraq. The large amount for contractors could fuel criticism that private contractors are overcharging US taxpayers.

The CBO estimates that $6 billion to $10 billion were spent on private security contractors who protect diplomats and construction sites. The CBO said at the beginning of this year, there were about 190,000 US-funded contractors working in Iraq.

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