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Friday, September 24, 2010

Senators seek to remove special inspector general for Afghanistan

Four senators have asked President Obama to remove Arnold Fields as the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, saying a recent government review had found major deficiencies in audits carried out by Fields's office.


Twice in the past 18 months "we have repeatedly raised concerns regarding performance of the SIGAR," wrote Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), chairman of the homeland security subcommittee on contracting oversight. She was joined in the letter by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). SIGAR is the abbreviation for Fields's office.


SIGAR spokeswoman Susan Phelan said that Fields was en route to Afghanistan and that she had no direct comment on the senators' letter. Phelan said Fields had welcomed recommendations made by the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, an independent government organization that carried out the review, and had vowed to implement them by Sept. 30.


In February of this year, the Council of Inspectors General began its review, which Fields initiated, according to SIGAR's Web site. That review "found multiple major deficiencies in SIGAR audits including failure to meet minimum standards for quality control," the senators wrote.


McCaskill and others have in the past recommended that the office of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, a parallel organization run by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., a figure popular on Capitol Hill, be merged with SIGAR so that there is only one inspector general for work in both countries.

-Walter Pincus, WashingtonPost.com
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