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Final GAO Report Upgrades Two Benchmarks
Government Watchdog Releases Final Version After Draft Leaked Last Week
09/04/2007 4:38 PM ET

The GAO released its report on the Iraqi government's progress on political benchmarks Tuesday afternoon, and the final version indicates an upgrade on two measures not reported in the leak of an initial draft last week. The GAO now concludes the Iraqi government has "partially met" the requirements to prevent "safe haven" for any outlaws and to provide three trained brigades for Baghdad security.

Even with the positive revision, however, the overall assessment speaks of failure, with the Iraqi government making inadequate progress on eleven of eighteen expected measures, meeting only three benchmarks, and partially satisfying four.

The AP's original coverage on a draft version of the assessment reported that the Iraqi government had failed to meet 13 of the 18 benchmarks.

The Pentagon disagreed with the conclusions, responding to the negative fallout by publicly announcing they would be communicating additional information to GAO that DOD believed would spark an upgrade for "a few" of the marks.

Though the final version does evidence a revision, the GAO's Comptroller General, David Walker, told the Senate Tuesday that this did not result from any additional information provided by the Pentagon, adding that the decision to alter the grades had been made before the draft version was leaked last week.

Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Walker expressed some frustration that inadequate or contradictory information hindered the GAO's work, leading the government watchdog to make three recommendations regarding the US government's reporting procedures.

First, the GAO requested the Secretary of State report to the President on the status in drafting, enacting, and implementing Iraqi legislation. The Secretary of Defense and heads of "other appropriate agencies" were asked to provide information of trends in sectarian violence, as well as "broader quantitative and qualitative measures of population security," in addition to additional information on the operational readiness of Iraqi security forces, particularly regarding their willingness to help secure Baghdad.

Download the highlights here d071195high.pdf or click through to access the full report on the GAO's site. The GAO also prepared an abridged version for Walker's appearance before Congress. d071220t.pdf

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