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Billions of dollars for you, but promise not to tell us what you do with it

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To fund a new Iraqi economy and government after the March 2003 invasion, the U.S. Federal Reserve shipped 484 pallets of shrink-wrapped U.S. currency, weighing 363 tons, totaling more than $4 billion, and, according to a House of Representatives committee staff report in February, most of the cash was either haphazardly disbursed or distributed to proper channels but with little follow-up tracking.

By March 2007, The Times of London found bank records revealing, for instance, that two unremarkable Baghdad small-business men (appointed to the defense ministry) eventually deposited more than $1 billion in private accounts in Jordan, and that U.S. efforts to buy state-of-the-art equipment for the Iraqi army were seriously undermined because middlemen purchased only cheap, obsolete Polish munitions and pocketed the savings.

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