FLASHBACK: On This Day in 2001, Bush Officials Announced That $2.3 Trillion Went Missing at the Pentagon


While the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon are remembered every year with heavy hearts, the bizarre and inexplicable events that happened the day before are usually glossed over, lost down the memory hole due to the war on terror that has gripped the nation for nearly 18 years now.

On Sept. 10, 2001, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that $2.3 trillion had gone missing at the Pentagon. He made a statement blaming the corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy for these funds vanishing essentially into thin air.

CBS News issued a report as apart of their “Eye on America” series about the loss of funds, and how that scandal was conveniently lost in the shuffle only a day after it was made public:

While Rumsfeld’s announcement could have garnered widespread outrage and eventually sparked an impetus to reform the out-of-control Pentagon bureaucracy, that was made impossible after the attacks as the public suddenly supported even more national defense spending to defeat global terrorism.

Since the attacks, the problem of disappearing defense funds has gotten exponentially worse. It was widely reported earlier this year that the Pentagon can not account for $21 trillion in spending as the military-industrial complex has swelled to unforeseen proportions while endless wars continue throughout the Middle East.

Forbes published an analysis by top economists of the astronomical military waste at the Pentagon:

Mark Skidmore and Catherine Austin Fitts, former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, conducted a search of government websites and found similar reports dating back to 1998. While the documents are incomplete, original government sources indicate $21 trillion in unsupported adjustments have been reported for the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998-2015.

While government budgets can be complex, our government, like any business, can track receipts and payments and share this information in ways that can be understood by the public. The ongoing occurrence and gargantuan nature of unsupported, i.e., undocumented, U.S. federal government expenditures as well as sources of funding for these expenditures should be a great concern to all tax payers.

Taken together these reports point to a failure to comply with basic Constitutional and legislative requirements for spending and disclosure. We urge the House and Senate Budget Committee to initiate immediate investigations of unaccounted federal expenditures as well as the source of their payment.

While the credible reports of unprecedented government waste are disheartening enough, new developments show that more than bureaucratic incompetence may have proceeded the 9/11 attacks. A recent academic study commissioned by the University of Alaska-Fairbanks has concluded that office fires could not have caused the fall of building seven of the World Trade Center, casting aspersions on the official story offered by federal investigators.

Until a new independent investigation is commissioned, serious and troubling questions will always remain about arguably the most consequential day in American history.

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