The watchdog who tracks the billions of taxpayer dollars spent to rebuild Afghanistan says government officials have tried to silence him
because they think he's embarrassing the White House and Afghan President Hamid Karzai by pointing out the waste and fraud.
John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction
, used a speech at the New America Foundation on Wednesday to blast government “bureaucrats”' who have told him to stop publicizing damning audits that detail case after case
of waste, corruption and mismanagement of rebuilding efforts in Afghanistan. Some government officials have even complained that they aren't allowed to pre-screen or edit his reports, he said.
“Since my appointment by the president last summer, I have been surprised to learn how many people both in and out of the government do not understand the role of an independent inspector general,” Sopko said.
“Over the last 10 months, I have been criticized by some bureaucrats for not pre-clearing my press releases with them, for not letting them edit the titles of my audits, for talking too much to Congress, for talking too much to the press … and, basically, for not being a 'team player' and undermining 'our country’s mission in Afghanistan
,'” he said.
“Many in our government, even some surprisingly senior officials you think would know better, seem to believe that an inspector general should be their partner — or, more correctly, their silent partner
,” he said. “In their opinion, my reports should be slipped in a sealed envelope in the dead of night under the door — never to see the light of day — because those reports could embarrass the administration, embarrass President Karzai, embarrass Afghanistan