Q& A:

Special Inspector General Stuart Bowen

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Stuart W. Bowen Jr. looks for controversy. As special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, Bowen is in charge of finding fraud, embezzlement and misappropriation of funds to rebuild Iraq, the largest U.S. foreign aid project since the Marshall Plan was launched to rebuild Europe after World War II.

And Bowen has found plenty of problems. In a recent interview, he detailed the discoveries, the missing millions and the failures identified in his latest quarterly report sent to Congress last week. One aspect of his investigation is expected to develop into criminal cases soon.

Bowen, a Texas lawyer, worked for then-Gov. George W. Bush as deputy general counsel, and spent 35 days in Florida during the 2000 presidential recount. Bowen went to the White House as an associate counsel. He was briefly in private practice before taking the congressionally created post in October 2004.

Bowen said 1,887 reconstruction projects have been completed of 2,784 that have been started; 897 projects are ongoing.

-- Robin Wright

Q

What were the headlines of your latest report into fraud in U.S. reconstruction of Iraq?

A

We are making progress on the reconstruction front in Iraq. I have 10 audits and 12 inspections and acknowledged 54 investigations [that] address significant issues in Iraq. . . . The World Bank reported a couple of years ago that it would take approximately $54 billion to restore Iraq's infrastructure. . . . We have allocated approximately $22 billion in Iraq relief and reconstruction funds. A large portion of that money is going to security though. . . .


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