US plan to improve Afghan intelligence operations branded a $457m failure

Pentagon’s use of taxpayers’ money under scrutiny after special watchdog finds contracts to train and mentor Afghan soldiers fell short of stated objectives

A $457m (£345m) Pentagon-funded programme to develop the intelligence capacity of Afghan defence and security forces has failed to meet its aims, according to a US watchdog.

The claim comes weeks after a scathing report found the US government had wasted $28m on Afghan uniforms with “forest” camouflaged patterns rather than the desert pattern better suited to 98% of the country’s terrain.

The report, by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar) said there was “no indication of improvement in overall intelligence operations” as a result of five contracts for training and mentoring, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, run by Legacy Afghanistan R&D and Afghanistan Source Operations Management (Asom). Only 47% of intelligence sites are ready to transfer to the Afghan government.

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The watchdog’s audit of training and mentoring contracts awarded to the Afghanistan national defence and security forces (ANDSF) between 2010 and 2013 said it was “almost impossible” to gauge the US government’s return on investment. This was due to a lack of performance metrics to track progress, said the report. Sigar found that neither Imperatis, the contractor, nor New Century Consulting, the subcontractor operating the programme, retained complete training records.

The watchdog also noted that Imperatis billed, on average, more than $1.8m a month under the Legacy contract for the period from March to December 2011, even though the training courses were cancelled in February 2011.

Using the records available, Sigar concluded that a “significant portion” of Afghan trainers and instructors failed to meet the minimum standards. Only 10 of the 24 police intelligence student trainees completed all nine courses required to be an interior ministry trainer; none of the four student trainees completed all six courses required to be a defence ministry trainer; and five out of six did not complete any of the four courses required to be a defence instructor.

The US Department of Defense had also met costs it was “not legally responsible to pay” as a result of failed monitoring by Imperatis, the report said.

Sigar’s January 2016 quarterly report to Congress, based on Afghan assessments, found defence and interior ministry intelligence capabilities were rated as high as “partially capable” but none as “fully operational”.

It recommended the US defence secretary conduct a review both of the award and oversight of the Legacy and Asom contracts, and of the ongoing ANDSF intelligence training and mentoring contracts, in order that they be better monitored.

Sigar has long criticised the Pentagon for wastefulness during the US’s longest war. In January, it told a Washington thinktank there was evidence that Taliban leaders had told their commanders to buy fuel, ammunition and weapons from Afghan soldiers because it was cheaper.

The office of the undersecretary of defence for policy, which was given a draft of the report, said it concurred with both Sigar’s recommendations.

A Department of Defense report, which followed the conclusion of Legacy and Asom contracts, noted that persistent capability gaps in the Afghan security forces’ intelligence collection and dissemination, along with other shortcomings, “have hampered more rapid development in their ability to maintain security and stability”.

In June, Donald Trump gave the Pentagon complete authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, after his defence secretary, James Mattis, suggested the war was being lost.

Karen McVeigh
Wednesday 2 August 2017 14.03 BST Last modified on Wednesday 2 August 2017 14.11 BST
Find this story at 2 August 2017

© 2017 Guardian News

Defence contractor run by Colonel Tim Collins OBE under investigation for fraud in Afghanistan

Exclusive: He is also facing questions over a £116m US contract to train Afghan security forces in counterinsurgency

A defence contractor run by one of Britain’s best-known military figures is under criminal investigation by the US government’s watchdog against fraud and waste in Afghanistan, The Independent can reveal.

It can also be revealed that the company founded by Colonel Tim Collins OBE – who is best known for delivering a powerful speech to his men on the eve of the Iraq war – is facing questions over a $176m (£116m) US contract to train Afghan security forces in counterinsurgency.

His firm, New Century Consulting, is the subcontractor in a Pentagon contract held by the US company Jorge Scientific, now known as Imperatis. A financial audit of Imperatis, carried out on behalf of the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar), identified $130m “unsupported” and “questioned” costs paid to New Century, to which most of the work was subcontracted.

John F Sopko, head of Sigar, said in a statement: “This is a classic example of a prime contractor not knowing how its subcontractors are spending hard-earned American taxpayer dollars.”

Last night Sigar, a US federal agency, told The Independent that it had an ongoing criminal investigation involving both New Century and Imperatis. The investigation began before the audit was carried out, and it is not known if they are connected.

Both New Century and Imperatis deny any wrongdoing and disagree with the findings of the audit, which include concerns about the $130m in “unsupported” costs. Col Collins said: “New Century has no knowledge of the criminal investigation which you allege.”

Sigar has the job of overseeing reconstruction projects and activities, conducting audits and investigations to “promote efficiency” and “detect and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse”.

Auditors tasked by Sigar examined $175,873,361 in expenditure between October 2011 and March 2014 and found that Imperatis “did not retain sufficient supporting documentation for a subcontractor’s [New Century Consulting] costs.” This amounted to $129,707,328 in “questioned costs” – part of an overall total of $134,552,665 of unsupported costs racked up by Imperatis over its “Legacy East” contract with the Pentagon.

Sigar recommended that US Army Contracting Command should “determine the allowability of and recover, as appropriate, $134,552,665 in questioned costs identified in the report”. Its auditors warned of “material weakness and non-compliance” over the documentation held by Imperatis of New Century’s costs and said that “the government may have been charged for costs that were unallowable to the Legacy East project”.

Under the contract, New Century (NCC) has sent counterinsurgency advisers, many of them British, to Afghanistan, to run what amounts to an intelligence mentoring and training programme for the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF). The aim is to take tactics developed and used during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and apply them in Afghanistan, to help the country’s soldiers and police recruit and use informants from within the Taliban.

In a statement yesterday, an Imperatis spokesperson said: “Imperatis and NCC maintain extensive records to evidence the costs incurred. These records were repeatedly offered to the auditors for their inspection, and remain available for review.”

Imperatis added: “Throughout performance of the Legacy East contract, NCC provided Imperatis with supporting documentation for every invoice submitted by NCC for payment as required by the terms of the contract.”

The company also claimed that the auditors based their findings on a sample of documents and did not seek to extend the sample size.

It added: “We are confident that further audit of the documentation would provide Sigar with complete assurance that all of the expenditures billed to the US government were incurred and claimed in accordance with the Legacy East contract, and in each case comply with all applicable cost principles.”

New Century also challenged the results of the audit, insisting it had provided all necessary documentation.

When The Independent first contacted him for his response, Col Collins responded: “Publish! I dare you!”

Yesterday, he said: “New Century was the subcontractor to Legacy East. Apart from that we have no privileged access to the matter mentioned nor have we been approached by the US government to assist or comment on the matter.

“The US government has now contracted directly with New Century to deliver these services based on the excellence of our performance and not least our administration and accounting which have been audited by the USG to their satisfaction.” Col Collins said he was unaware of any criminal investigation, and added: “Sigar’s concerns are not with my company.”

Lee Hess, division chief of Army Contracting Command, which runs the US Army’s outsourcing contracts, also challenged the Sigar audit. Speaking to The Independent yesterday at the request of New Century, he said that “the financial audit was not complete”. He added: “We are engaged with Sigar to try to complete the audit because it wasn’t properly completed when it was released.”

But last night a Sigar spokesman insisted the audit was complete. Referring to a meeting held last October to discuss the audit, attended by Mr Hess, the Sigar spokesman added: “He was fully aware of the findings and raised no objections.”

Whether or not the audit into New Century and Imperatis is complete, it emerged yesterday that both firms are the subjects of a criminal investigation by Sigar.

Referring to the British sub-contractor, a Sigar spokesperson told The Independent: “Sigar has an ongoing investigation of the company” and that the investigation began before the audit was carried out. When pressed for details, they said, “The investigation is criminal in nature”, but would not elaborate.

It is not known whether the investigation is connected to the issues raised in the recent audit. The investigation “is related to both companies”, said the spokesperson.

An Imperatis spokesperson said: “We have not been informed of any criminal investigation, nor do we have knowledge of one.”

When approached, a US Department of Defence spokesperson said: “It is the Department’s policy to first respond to Sigar on their recommendations before responding to your request.”

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The Pentagon’s Legacy programme is part of a wider effort which has seen billions spent in trying to create an Afghan army and police force capable of fighting the Taliban.

But the latest assessments of the Afghan National Security Force, released by Sigar earlier this year, show that only 11 out of 43 units are judged as being “fully capable”.

And the US Department of Defence’s latest progress report on Afghanistan, released six months ago, admitted: “Within the ANSF, reports of corruption range from Afghan National Police extortion at illegal checkpoints to higher-level corruption in the Afghan security institutions (eg pay-for-position schemes, taking bribes from contractors, and ‘land grabbing’).”

This comes amid mounting concern over the fate of funds spent in Afghanistan. Last week it emerged that US Department of Defence was unable to provide financial data on $890m spent on emergency reconstruction and humanitarian projects over the past decade.

Last Thursday, Sigar reported that the Afghan government was unable to account for $100m given to help fill a shortfall in its budgets.

Colonel’s reaction ‘Publish! I dare you!’

When first approached by The Independent, on the evening of 26 April, Colonel Collins went on the offensive. Within 10 minutes of being emailed, he responded: “Publish! I dare you!”

Five minutes later, he emailed again: “For completeness, this is a back [sic] slur you have alleged against myself and my company. I double dare you!”

In a third email, sent at 7.43pm, Colonel Collins wrote: “I am assuming your allegation is carried in the Tuesday edition? [Referring to his chief of staff] Greg, can we make sure someone buys a few copies in the Republic of Ireland as well as NI.”

Jonathan Owen Monday 27 April 2015 19:58 BST0 comments

Find this story at 25 April 2017

Copyright http://www.independent.co.uk/

MI6 ‘ghost money’ sent to Hamid Karzai amid massive Afghan corruption

Following reports the CIA gave millions of dollars to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, MI6 has said it sent “ghost money” to the country’s government. The donations have sparked claims the funds fuel corruption and are used to appease Afghan warlords.

UK Intelligence said the “bundles” of cash were channeled into special projects aimed at rebuilding the troubled nation, reported UK newspaper the Telegraph. However, Karzai previously stated the handouts from the CIA are an “easy source of petty cash.”

Karzai addressed claims of corruption over the weekend, categorically denying the handouts went to militant leaders and maintaining “the major part of this money was spent on government employees such as our guards.”

Money from the UK government was just a small portion of the multi-million dollar payouts sent by the CIA since 2001.

UK MPs have voiced their concern over the lack of regulation of funds that are channeled into the war-torn nation.

“Every effort towards a political fix in Afghanistan must be made and those efforts welcomed but whether or not the money is well spent is a matter that must also be considered,” Conservative MP and member of the Defense Select Committee told the Daily Telegraph. He added there “is plenty of evidence that Karzai and his clique do not have an interest in a peace settlement but instead have an interest in continuing the conflict.”

Furthermore, Karzai said some of the funds had gone towards bribing the country’s political elite, something that he described as “nothing unusual.”

The reports have given rise to accusations that funds have lined the pockets of Afghanistan’s warlords, given that many are believed to number among the country’s upper political classes.

AFP Photo / Aref Karimi

“It has been paid to individuals, not movements…we give receipts for all these expenditures to the US government,” Karzai said to press on Saturday. He has urged the CIA to continue the monetary aid that “has helped us a lot, it has solved lots of our problems.”

Both the CIA and US State Department have refrained from commenting on the reports.

The Afghan government has hitherto not specified the exact quantity of cash it receives from the CIA and MI6 every month because they are not permitted to disclose the figure. However, officials speaking to the New York Times said that the donations from the CIA amounted to tens of millions of dollars since they began following alliance force intervention in the country a decade ago.

Karzai received a barrage of criticism after reports of the foreign donations emerged, many fellow politicians regarding it as a betrayal to Afghanistan.

Published time: May 06, 2013 08:14
Edited time: May 06, 2013 20:21

Find this story at 6 May 2013

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MI6 ‘handing bundles of cash to Hamid Karzai’

British intelligence is handing “bundles” of cash over to Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai for special peace projects despite warnings that handouts are promoting corruption at the heart of his regime.

MI6 officials have acknowledged that the organisation has made direct cash payments to their Afghan counterparts periodically over the 12 years Britain has been at war in Afghanistan.

Mr Karzai declared handouts from the CIA and MI6 are an “easy source of petty cash” for his government as it attempts to seal alliances with powerful regional warlords and secure defections from the Taliban.

The CIA support is believed to have amounted to tens of millions of dollars since 2001 while Britain has channelled a smaller fraction of that amount into “special projects” undertaken by Karzai’s officials.

MPs expressed concern that by simply handing over so-called “ghost money” to President Karzai and his lieutenants, British spies could not be sure that the money would not be lost to corruption.

Adam Holloway, a Conservative MP and member of the Defence Select Committee, warned that they could not be trusted even if the payments could be justified on the grounds that Taliban and other insurgents must be rewarded if they give up the fight against Nato troops.
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“Every effort towards a political fix in Afghanistan must be made and those efforts welcomed but whether or not the money is well spent is a matter that must also be considered,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “There is plenty of evidence that Karzai and his clique do not have an interest in a peace settlement but instead have an interest in continuing the conflict.”

As Britain draws down troop numbers before withdrawing at the end of next year, there are fears that the pressure to seek a deal with insurgents to stop or reduce attacks will see increasing amounts of secret cash spent in Afghanistan.

“We also need to know more about how and where any cash from the UK is being used – how it is being monitored, and what benefits it is actually bringing to the people of Afghanistan,” said Angus Robertson, the SNP MP and party defence spokesman. “It is enormously important to ensure that Afghanistan is as peaceful as it can be in the build up to withdrawal. The terrible roadside attack on Royal Regiment of Scotland personnel last week shows the terrorist threat is still a very real one.”

The revelation that Mr Karzai’s office is awash with cash from his allies has caused a furore in the Afghan parliament where Mr Karzai’s government has faced a barrage of corruption allegations.

“Accepting such money is a big insult to Afghanistan. All those who accepted the cash payments have betrayed the nation,” said Hidayatullah Rihaee, an MP from Bamyan province.

But Mr Karzai said the cash flow was vital to his grip on power and said he had begged the CIA station chief to continue making payments despite US political criticism.

“This is nothing unusual,” he said. “I told him because of all these rumours in the media, please do not cut all this money, because we really need it.”

He admitted that the money had been passed on to potential allies.

By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent

5:39PM BST 05 May 2013

Find this story at 5 May 2013

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2013

Ghost money from MI6 and CIA may fuel Afghan corruption, say diplomats

Failure of peace initiatives raises questions over whether British eagerness for political settlement may have been exploited

Hamid Karzai with the Finnish prime minister, Jyrki Katainen, in Helsinki. Photograph: Lehtikuva/Reuters

The CIA and MI6 have regularly given large cash payments to Hamid Karzai’s office with the aim of maintaining access to the Afghan leader and his top allies and officials, but the attempt to buy influence has largely failed and may have backfired, former diplomats and policy analysts say.

The Guardian understands that the payments by British intelligence were on a smaller scale than the CIA’s handouts, reported in the New York Times to have been in the tens of millions, and much of the British money has gone towards attempts to finance peace initiatives, which have so far proved abortive.

That failure has raised questions among some British officials over whether eagerness to promote a political settlement may have been exploited by Afghan officials and self-styled intermediaries for the Taliban.

Responding to the allegations while on a visit to Helsinki on Monday, Karzai said his national security council (NSC) had received support from the US government for the past 10 years, and the amounts involved were “not big” and were used for a variety of purposes including helping those wounded in the conflict. “It’s multi-purpose assistance,” he said, without commenting on the allegations that the money was fuelling corruption.

Yama Torabi, the director of Integrity Watch Afghanistan said that the presidency’s low-key response to the reports had “outraged people”.

“As a result, we don’t know what was the amount of money that was given, what it was used for and if there was any corruption involved. Money when it is unchecked can be abused and this looks like one. In addition, it can be potentially used to corrupt politicians and political circles, but there is no way to know this unless there is a serious investigation into it,” Torabi told The Guardian.

Kabul sources told the Guardian that the key official involved in distributing the payments within the NSC was Ibrahim Spinzada, a close confidant of the president known as Engineer Ibrahim. There is, however, no evidence that Spinzada personally gained from the cash payments or that in distributing them among the president’s allies and sometimes his foes he was breaking Afghan law.

Officials say the payments, referred to in a New York Times report as “ghost money”, helped prop up warlords and corrupt officials, deepening Afghan popular mistrust of the Kabul government and its foreign backers, and thereby helped drive the insurgency.

The CIA money has sometimes caused divisions between the various branches of US government represented in Kabul, according to diplomats stationed in Kabul, particularly when it helped give the CIA chief of station in Kabul direct access to Karzai without the US ambassador’s knowledge or approval.

One former Afghan budgetary official told the Guardian: “On paper there was very little money that went to the National Directorate of Security [NDS, the Afghan intelligence service], but we knew they were taken care of separately by the CIA.

“The thing about US money is a lot of it goes outside the budget, directly through individuals and companies, and that opens the way for corruption.”

Khalil Roman, who served as Karzai’s deputy chief of staff from 2002 until 2005, told the New York Times: “We called it ‘ghost money’. It came in secret, and it left in secret.”

One American official told the newspaper: “The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan was the United States.”

Sources said the MI6 aid was on a smaller scale, and much of it was focused on trying to promote meetings between Karzai’s government and Taliban intermediaries, as was embarrassingly the case in 2010 when MI6 discovered a would-be Taliban leader in talks with Karzai was an impostor from the Pakistani city of Quetta.

The British payments have also been designed to bolster UK influence in Kabul, in what a source described as “an auction with each country trying to outbid the other” in the course of an often fraught relationship with the Karzai government.

Vali Nasr, a former US government adviser on Afghanistan, said: “Karzai has been lashing out against American officials and generals, so if indeed there has been funding by the CIA, you have to ask to what effect has that money been paid. It hasn’t clearly brought the sort of influence it was meant to.”

 

Karzai’s CIA cash has long precedent in Afghanistan – and a simple solution

30 Apr 2013

Nushin Arbabzadah: Afghans would have to back their own state in order to change foreign powers’ century-old system of buying leaders’ loyalty

29 Apr 2013

Afghanistan’s web of intrigue is a poor basis on which to rebuild a nation

27 Apr 2013

Small Wars, Far Away Places by Michael Burleigh – review

25 Apr 2013

Senator accuses US of ‘intelligence failings’ in tracking Tamerlan Tsarnaev

Hamid Karzai orders ban on ‘un-Islamic’ shows on Afghan TV

25 Apr 2013

President issues vague decree after clerics complain that many stations air programmes that are ‘counter to Islamic values’

Julian Borger, diplomatic editor
The Guardian, Tuesday 30 April 2013

Find this story at 30 April 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.

With Bags of Cash, C.I.A. Seeks Influence in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — For more than a decade, wads of American dollars packed into suitcases, backpacks and, on occasion, plastic shopping bags have been dropped off every month or so at the offices of Afghanistan’s president — courtesy of the Central Intelligence Agency.

All told, tens of millions of dollars have flowed from the C.I.A. to the office of President Hamid Karzai, according to current and former advisers to the Afghan leader.

“We called it ‘ghost money,’ ” said Khalil Roman, who served as Mr. Karzai’s deputy chief of staff from 2002 until 2005. “It came in secret, and it left in secret.”

The C.I.A., which declined to comment for this article, has long been known to support some relatives and close aides of Mr. Karzai. But the new accounts of off-the-books cash delivered directly to his office show payments on a vaster scale, and with a far greater impact on everyday governing.

Moreover, there is little evidence that the payments bought the influence the C.I.A. sought. Instead, some American officials said, the cash has fueled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington’s exit strategy from Afghanistan.

“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,” one American official said, “was the United States.”

The United States was not alone in delivering cash to the president. Mr. Karzai acknowledged a few years ago that Iran regularly gave bags of cash to one of his top aides.

At the time, in 2010, American officials jumped on the payments as evidence of an aggressive Iranian campaign to buy influence and poison Afghanistan’s relations with the United States. What they did not say was that the C.I.A. was also plying the presidential palace with cash — and unlike the Iranians, it still is.

American and Afghan officials familiar with the payments said the agency’s main goal in providing the cash has been to maintain access to Mr. Karzai and his inner circle and to guarantee the agency’s influence at the presidential palace, which wields tremendous power in Afghanistan’s highly centralized government. The officials spoke about the money only on the condition of anonymity.

It is not clear that the United States is getting what it pays for. Mr. Karzai’s willingness to defy the United States — and the Iranians, for that matter — on an array of issues seems to have only grown as the cash has piled up. Instead of securing his good graces, the payments may well illustrate the opposite: Mr. Karzai is seemingly unable to be bought.

Over Iran’s objections, he signed a strategic partnership deal with the United States last year, directly leading the Iranians to halt their payments, two senior Afghan officials said. Now, Mr. Karzai is seeking control over the Afghan militias raised by the C.I.A. to target operatives of Al Qaeda and insurgent commanders, potentially upending a critical part of the Obama administration’s plans for fighting militants as conventional military forces pull back this year.

But the C.I.A. has continued to pay, believing it needs Mr. Karzai’s ear to run its clandestine war against Al Qaeda and its allies, according to American and Afghan officials.

Like the Iranian cash, much of the C.I.A.’s money goes to paying off warlords and politicians, many of whom have ties to the drug trade and, in some cases, the Taliban. The result, American and Afghan officials said, is that the agency has greased the wheels of the same patronage networks that American diplomats and law enforcement agents have struggled unsuccessfully to dismantle, leaving the government in the grips of what are basically organized crime syndicates.

The cash does not appear to be subject to the oversight and restrictions placed on official American aid to the country or even the C.I.A.’s formal assistance programs, like financing Afghan intelligence agencies. And while there is no evidence that Mr. Karzai has personally taken any of the money — Afghan officials say the cash is handled by his National Security Council — the payments do in some cases work directly at odds with the aims of other parts of the American government in Afghanistan, even if they do not appear to violate American law.

Handing out cash has been standard procedure for the C.I.A. in Afghanistan since the start of the war. During the 2001 invasion, agency cash bought the services of numerous warlords, including Muhammad Qasim Fahim, the current first vice president.

“We paid them to overthrow the Taliban,” the American official said.

The C.I.A. then kept paying the Afghans to keep fighting. For instance, Mr. Karzai’s half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was paid by the C.I.A. to run the Kandahar Strike Force, a militia used by the agency to combat militants, until his assassination in 2011.

A number of senior officials on the Afghan National Security Council are also individually on the agency’s payroll, Afghan officials said.

While intelligence agencies often pay foreign officials to provide information, dropping off bags of cash at a foreign leader’s office to curry favor is a more unusual arrangement.

Afghan officials said the practice grew out of the unique circumstances in Afghanistan, where the United States built the government that Mr. Karzai runs. To accomplish that task, it had to bring to heel many of the warlords the C.I.A. had paid during and after the 2001 invasion.

By late 2002, Mr. Karzai and his aides were pressing for the payments to be routed through the president’s office, allowing him to buy the warlords’ loyalty, a former adviser to Mr. Karzai said.

Then, in December 2002, Iranians showed up at the palace in a sport utility vehicle packed with cash, the former adviser said.

The C.I.A. began dropping off cash at the palace the following month, and the sums grew from there, Afghan officials said.

Payments ordinarily range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, the officials said, though none could provide exact figures. The money is used to cover a slew of off-the-books expenses, like paying off lawmakers or underwriting delicate diplomatic trips or informal negotiations.

Much of it also still goes to keeping old warlords in line. One is Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek whose militia served as a C.I.A. proxy force in 2001. He receives nearly $100,000 a month from the palace, two Afghan officials said. Other officials said the amount was significantly lower.

Mr. Dostum, who declined requests for comment, had previously said he was given $80,000 a month to serve as Mr. Karzai’s emissary in northern Afghanistan. “I asked for a year up front in cash so that I could build my dream house,” he was quoted as saying in a 2009 interview with Time magazine.

Some of the cash also probably ends up in the pockets of the Karzai aides who handle it, Afghan and Western officials said, though they would not identify any by name.

That is not a significant concern for the C.I.A., said American officials familiar with the agency’s operations. “They’ll work with criminals if they think they have to,” one American former official said.

Mark Mazzetti contributed reporting from Washington.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 29, 2013

An earlier version of this article misstated the job title that Khalil Roman held in Afghanistan from 2002 until 2005. He was President Hamid Karzai’s deputy chief of staff, not his chief of staff.

April 28, 2013
By MATTHEW ROSENBERG

Find this story at 29 April 2013

© 2013 The New York Times Company

Thousands of police accused of corruption – just 13 convicted

Forces should not probe their own officers, says IPCC chief as shocking figures come to light

The new head of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has questioned the ability of forces to investigate their own officers for corruption after it emerged that more than 8,500 allegations of wrongdoing resulted in just 13 criminal convictions.

Officers – including some from the most senior ranks – were accused of crimes including rape, the misuse of corporate credit cards and perverting the course of justice, but most cases were not substantiated and only a tiny fraction ever came to court.

Dame Anne Owers said that there was scepticism about the extent to which police officers could investigate colleagues’ alleged crimes, and she demanded more resources to supervise inquiries to ensure confidence in the system. “The public is understandably doubtful about the extent to which, in this particular instance, the police can investigate themselves,” she said in a report by the IPCC.

She concluded that the corruption identified over the three years to 2011 was not endemic or widespread. But she accepted that it was “corrosive of the public trust that is at the heart of policing” with the number of cases increasing.

“A serious focus on tackling police corruption is important, not just because it unearths unethical police behaviour, but because of the role it plays in wider public trust,” said Dame Anne, a former inspector of prisons.

The report was published just after it was announced that the IPCC – which looks into allegations of police misconduct and deaths in custody – will itself be put under the spotlight by a powerful parliamentary committee amid concerns over its record. Its investigation teams include former police officers and the Home Affairs Select Committee will assess whether it is able to carry out impartial inquiries.

The IPCC corruption report was ordered by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, because of concerns in the light of the phone-hacking scandal and the role of private investigators. The commission said that it looked at a total of 104 cases and referred less than half of those to prosecutors. It resulted in court cases involving 18 officers, with 13 of them convicted.

The highest ranking officer convicted was Ali Dizaei, the former Metropolitan Police commander, who was sacked this month after his release from prison after serving a three-year term for misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice.

He was found guilty of framing a man in a dispute over an unpaid bill for work on his personal website in what the court heard was a “wholesale abuse of power”.

Find the story at 25 may 2012

Paul Peachey
Friday, 25 May 2012
© independent.co.uk