US Army to probe battlefield contractors in Iraq

From high-dollar fraud to conspiracy to bribery and bid rigging, Army investigators have opened up to 50 criminal probes involving battlefield contractors in the war in Iraq and the US fight against terrorism, The Associated Press has learned. Senior contracting officials, government employees, residents of other countries and, in some cases, US military personnel have been implicated in millions of dollars of fraud allegations. "All of these involve operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait," Chris Grey, a spokesman for the US Army Criminal Investigation Command, confirmed Saturday to the AP. Contractors are used in battle zones to do nearly everything but fight. They run cafeterias and laundries for troops, move supplies, run communication systems and repair weapons systems. Battlefield contractors have been implicated in allegations of fraud and abuse since the war in Iraq began in spring 2003.