WASHINGTON (AP) _ A top Senate Democrat says the Bush administration's reliance on military contractors in Iraq has set a
Kent Conrad, who chairs the budget committee, says the use of contractors ``restricts accountability and oversight; opens the door to corruption and abuse, and, in some instances, may significantly increase the cost to American taxpayers.''
A new Congressional Budget Office report says military contracts in the Iraq theater have cost taxpayers at least $85 billion. If spending for contractors continues at about the same rate, by the end of the year, an estimated $100 billion will have been paid to military contractors for operations in Iraq.
The report says the U.S. has relied more heavily on contractors in Iraq than in any other war to provide services ranging from food service to guarding diplomats. About 20 percent of funding for operations in Iraq has gone to contractors.