By Dave Lindorff
It doesn't bode well for accountability or fiscal probity that in unceremoniously sh*t-canning his Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the petulant President Donald Trump elevated in his stead as acting secretary Mattis's number two, Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.
If you said, "Shanahan who?" welcome to the club. This was about as invisible a bureaucrat as you could imagine. And little wonder. Shanahan is a guy who, like the president who nominated him to his post as the number two civilian leader of the Pentagon, has never served in the military, and whose experience prior to that was basically as a middle management cog at Boeing. His positions there included vice president and general manager of several Boeing operations and, as a career peak, senior vice president of supply chain operations.
Now I'm the last person to claim that someone running what should, in all honesty, be still called the US War Department instead of the absurdly euphemistic Defense Department, ought to come to the job having had some experience in the military, but still, all in all this seems to be a pretty thin resume for taking charge of the agency that accounts for more than half off all discretionary spending by the federal government, and who is charged with advising the president on key issues relating to national security.
Shanahan, in his brief role as Deputy Secretary of War/Defense, was dragged out of his bureaucratic obscurity only once, as far as I can tell, and that was on November 15, when he held a press conference to announce that the Pentagon had failed its first-ever outside audit. (I guess Mad-Dog Mattis wasn't mad enough to want to have to take responsibility for that embarrassing debacle.)
As I reported at the time in the lead paragraph of my cover story in the current issue of the Nation Magazine headlined:"Exposing the Pentagon's Massive Accounting Fraud," Shanahan told the assembled media scrum, "We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it." He went on to claim that the Pentagon should actually get credit for trying, saying, "It was an audit on a $2.7-trillion organization, so the fact that we did the audit is substantial."
Shanahan managed, with the assistance of a friendly press corps who were either inappropriately polite or simply historically ignorant, to cover up the reality that the Pentagon had actually been forced by Congress to finally submit to an attempted audit by 1200 auditors from the nation's leading audit firms after 27 years of stonewalling a Congressional mandate to develop an auditable set of books...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.