Report finds Iraq contracts have cost US billions

Military contracts in the Iraq theater have cost taxpayers at least $85 billion, and when it comes to providing security, they might not be any cheaper than using military personnel, according to a review released Tuesday. Release of the report by the Congressional Budget Office reflects increased scrutiny in the last year of contractors, some of which have been investigated in connection to the shooting deaths of Iraqis and in the accidental deaths of US troops by electrocution. The United States 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 money spent for operations in Iraq has gone to contractors, the report said.