"Shocking And Incredible": IG Slams DOD For "Having No Knowledge" About $800 Million Program

Tyler Durden's picture

By now most have heard of the infamous gas station in Sheberghan, northern Afghanistan which "cost" the U.S. Department of Defense nearly $43 million to build, even though its real cost was only $500,000. This "world's most expensive gas station" has promptly become the latest example of waste and budgetary abuse which comes courtesy of a debt ceiling which is increased by over $1 trillion every year and a government whose only purpose is to spend every dollar budgeted to it or else risk losing future fund allocations.

This was revealed in a report released by John Sopko, head of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a congressional body, which was released yesterday.

However the biggest stunner in the report is not the gas station, which costs almost as much as a luxury New York duplex meant to be sold to Chinese money laundering oligarchs, but something else namely that the task force behind the project had closed operations in March and for that reason the Department of Defense said it did not possess "the personnel expertise to address these questions."

The result: a stunned IG exclaims it is "shocking and incredible that DOD says it has no knowledge about an $800 million program."

Actually, it is perfectly normal and par for the course for any government program to waste funds (and to syphon some off the top and bottom) whenever it is given nearly $1 billion in appropriated funds without any supervision.

Thank you taxpayers.

Sopko concludes by saying that he intend "to continue our inquiry into TFBSO activities to shed additional light on how this program operated, what it achieved, how this enormous amount of money was spent, and whether any conduct by TFBSO staff or contractors was criminal in nature."

He will find nothing, because the corruption captured in just this one instance is endemic to the US, and every other, government across the globe, and if he were to dig deeper he would find a trail of "criminal" money spending that goes to the very top.

* * *

Here is the full letter from John Sopko to Ashton Carter that shows just how "careful" the U.S. government is when abusing your money:

Dear Secretary Carter:


The attached report discusses SIGAR’s review of the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) Downstream Gas Utilization project.


According to a TFBSO study, the Task Force spent nearly $43 million to construct a compressed natural gas (CNG) automobile filling station in the city of Sheberghan, Afghanistan. The main purpose of the project was to demonstrate the commercial viability of CNG for automobiles in Afghanistan as part of a broader effort to take advantage of Afghanistan’s domestic natural gas reserves and reduce the country’s reliance on energy imports.


Although TFBSO achieved its immediate objective of building the CNG filling station, it apparently did so at an exorbitant cost to U.S. taxpayers. In comparison, SIGAR found that a CNG station in Pakistan costs no more than $500,000 to construct. Furthermore, there is no indication that TFBSO considered the feasibility of achieving the station’s broader objectives or considered any of the potentially considerable obstacles to the project’s success before beginning construction.


One of the most troubling aspects of this project is that the Department of Defense claims that it is unable to provide an explanation for the high cost of the project or to answer any other questions concerning its planning, implementation, or outcome. In fact, in response to my request for information, the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy stated in June 2015 that the March 2015 closure of TFBSO resulted in the Office of the Secretary “no longer possessing the personnel expertise to address these questions or to assess properly the TFBSO information and documentation retained by WHS in the OSD Executive Archive” (see Appendix I).


In written comments on a draft of this report, the Principal Under Secretary of Defense for Policy did not dispute our facts or findings, or provide any new information. Instead, his comments reiterated his earlier position that because TFBSO closed in March 2015, the Department no longer has the expertise to answer any of SIGAR’s questions about this project or about any other TFBSO activities (see Appendix II).


Frankly, I find it both shocking and incredible that DOD asserts that it no longer has any knowledge about TFBSO, an $800 million program that reported directly to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and only shut down a little over six months ago. Nevertheless, I intend to continue our inquiry into TFBSO activities to shed additional light on how this program operated, what it achieved, how this enormous amount of money was spent, and whether any conduct by TFBSO staff or contractors was criminal in nature.

* * *

Full letter below (link)

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surf0766's picture

You mean there is waste under the most transparent administration in the history of the world?

Shocked. We are freakn' shocked

DontGive's picture

Only $800 million? Spit in the ocean compared how much they have 'lost' in total.

Looney's picture

<<< No one will go to jail

<<< Someone will go to jail


SafelyGraze's picture

sopko xmas wishlist item:

staple remover


BuddyEffed's picture

Does it service just 4 or 5 vehicles, from an originally planned 5000 vehicles?

idea_hamster's picture

“Nevertheless, I intend to continue our inquiry into TFBSO activities to shed additional light on how this program operated, what it achieved, how this enormous amount of money was spent, and whether any conduct by TFBSO staff or contractors was criminal in nature”

That story again: Man to be found dead of 138-stab-wound-and-fell-up-the-stairs suicide in a few weeks.

Fahque Imuhnutjahb's picture



SIGAR? really.  This guy needs to go to work for the Special Unlimited Graft Acquisition Regime.

This is one of Uncle's most popular postings once you spin through the revolving door to the "private" sector.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

The station cost what any ordinary gas station would cost.  The rest of the kazillion went into some black project, just like they used to do in the 70's.

Stackers's picture

Pocket change. Rumsfeld is still looking for that 2.3 trillion


Vatican_cameo's picture

That's nothing compared to what the Government has spent on the Benghazi Hearings (according to the Liberals).

SickDollar's picture

Someone tells/teach this Sheep Inspector how really things work in govt

Obviously this guy is naive and in the dark


GeezerGeek's picture

It's really too bad that no inquiry into the missing $2.3T ever came about. Rumsfeld alone could not have lost that much, since the Bush administration was only 8 months old at that time and was operating under a Clinton budget. Or maybe Don was projecting into the future, and really meant that "we will have" lost track of that much money by, say, 2005. But after all, what difference, at this point, does it make? We all know that USA Corp. is there to extract money from taxpayers, regardless of the team selected to lead it.

Dick Buttkiss's picture

Bitcoin is skyrocketing because of increasing capital controls in China, and when the same thing happens here and elsewhere (in a vain attempt to prevent capital flight), Bitcoin will enter escape velocity.

fightapathy's picture

Ay! Are you calling the Under-Secretary a liar? And anyway, it was supposed to service 50,000 moderate vehicles.

FreeMoney's picture

Here we see the all new "Burning of Rome".  Now that the congress has upped the debt ceiling, the Nero's of Washington can spend like drunken sailors, and pappa Yellen will buy all the debt.  There is no happy ending to this story.

Fahque Imuhnutjahb's picture



Depends who you are.  For us rank and file, yes, no happy ending.  But for the folks on the receiving end of

these contracts, they might as well move their office into a Korean massage parlor.  We pay them our taxes long time.

Parrotile's picture

Wonder how much of that "orders of magniture greater than the Russians" MIC spending is just this - pocket-padding for the better connected.

There is also the problem of the Services being happily used to the ability to waste, rather than conserve. Not a very good mindset should the supply lines be disrupted as a result of "unforeseen accidents".

Fahque Imuhnutjahb's picture

Halliburton sells those to the military for $666, along with $300 hammers. and $700 toilet seats.  What a deal.

surf0766's picture

In the Banana, no one goes to jail

BlindMonkey's picture

I know you meant well but that was the stupidest poll ever.

simon.dc3's picture

FINALLY! It looks like someone's painted big crosshairs on Paul Brinkley's ass (then Deputy Undersecretary of Defense who ran TFBSO at the time).
Can't wait to see where it leads.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Before you complain, you should at lease try the sushi at that gas station.

IndyPat's picture

Not to mention lotto...and cigarettes at Caliphate minimum prices.

Urban Roman's picture

Funny name for a town ... Jack Benny was from there, wasn't he?

armageddon addahere's picture

When I read about large amounts of government money disappearing I assume it was syphoned off into the black budget or secret off the books operations of the CIA and other hidden government departments. It usually turns out I am right, although it takes years for the truth to come out. These secret agencies got the upper hand over congress, the president, police, and everyone else a long time ago and are accountable to no one. They can do whatever they like, and have been for over 50 years.

SethDealer's picture

when I was in the army (1988-1993) we were buying hammers for $120

Bank_sters's picture

It only matters if you have a video of Obama talking about transparency.  Oh shit...

Flashback: Obama: Transparency and the rule of law

venturen's picture

Obvioously this is Bush fault...right Obamaphones?

Bring the Gold's picture

Or we've just had 14 years of the same Deep State policies and red team vs blue team is for idiots. Not to mention the fact the Deep State has been doing this on one level or another since 1947 creation of CIA, Pentagon. By all means though keep playing partisan politics.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

All presidents get to buy parts of South America.  It is part of the contract.

Vlad the Inhaler's picture

SOMEONE knew exactly what was going on, and got very rich from this.  Sounds more like "free stuff" than "waste".

NoDebt's picture

CIA slush fund.


Mr Poopra's picture

Exactly.  All of these shenanigans are to fund black projects.

Perimetr's picture

Black projects has a new meaning under Obama

HowdyDoody's picture

Not to mention all the Milo Minderbinders out there.

IndyPat's picture

So THAT is why you get a free bag of chocolate covered cotton with a fill up.

Expected more ZHers to pick up what you're layin down, here...

RopeADope's picture

Black projects also now fund the government. It would be very amusing as each set of criminal critters stumbles over the other set.

Only as we have seen countless times in D.C., once everyone engages in illegal behavior, there are no groups remaining that are able to bring an investigation to fruition.

Baa baa's picture

You got it! How else can they pay for the daily mischief on a global scale?

Mr Poopra's picture

The nature and extent of these black projects would probably make Orwell laugh himself into a coma.

DetectiveStern's picture

Any idiot who believes that all $43million went towards building that gas station is beyond help.

cougar_w's picture

My very first thought. But it will be spun as $800 hammers and $1,200 toilet seats, as always. Government waste! Boo!! Scary!!!

Look the other way, is what they want.

People are kinda dumb. And, they want to be lied to. So they eat it up, get all angry and distracted.

centerline's picture

Yup.  That money was purposely missing, which means it really wasn't missing.

Dick Buttkiss's picture

DOD stands for Disappearance Of Dollars?

cougar_w's picture

You hope those dollars disappeared. That would be the least bad outcome. Probably those dollars went to fund something that if you didn't already "know" it was a gas station you would lose your mind, and all last shred of faith that your government does not operate as a criminal enterprise.

Because it is and it does.

Jim in MN's picture

Nothing at all to do with, for example, Russian body parts strewn across the Sinai.


More strudel!!!!!   Mmmmmm strudel.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Maybe $800 million went towards bribes, kickbacks, pay-offs, "one for you, one for me", and black-ops.


Tyrone Shoelaces's picture

Them head choppin' ISIS boys don't work for nothin', ya know?


Mick Shrimpton's picture



1. Build 43 million dollar gas station.

2. ???

3. Profit!

pods's picture

Lotta gravy to be skimmed.  Lotta gravy.

'The US is like a great big pussy just waiting to be fucked."

-Tony Montana