Monday, August 15, 2011

FBI Investigation Reveals DoD Contractors Stole Iraq Artifacts

Top Secret Writers
Dennis Dufrene

The FBI has returned invaluable artifacts to Iraq, and publicly revealed that the relics were stolen by Department of Defense contractors.

Terracotta plaques and other artifacts were seized during a 2006 investigation.

The relics are thousands of years old and have tremendous cultural significance in Iraq. The success of the law enforcement operation that returned the relics was celebrated during a ceremony in Washington, DC.

“These artifacts are truly invaluable,” said Ron Hosko, special agent in charge of the Criminal Division in the Washington Field Office. “The FBI is pleased to be able to return them to their rightful owner.”

The artifacts were seized by agents during a public corruption investigation headed by the Contract Corruption Task Force, which was formed to stop fraud and abuses among Defense Department contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to the FBI, contractors passing through the Babylon region stole the artifacts in 2004. Agents determined the relics were used as bribes, gifts and were sold to other contractors, who smuggled the artifacts into the United States.

Two contractors have ben convicted and sentenced to time in prison.

Hosko praised investigators during the ceremony and said that the bureau is committed to preventing fraud among contractors, who many view as working outside US, Iraqi and Geneva Convention laws.
Hosko added that working abroad does not entitle anyone to break laws or remove artifacts.

Iraqi Ambassador to the United States, Shakir Mahmood, said he was thankful for the efforts of the task force and the return of the important artifacts. The Ambassador issued the following statement about the returned artifacts:
“As Iraq works to reconstruct our country and our heritage, we are grateful for the cooperation from the American authorities.”
The terracotta pieces were made of clay, pressed into a mold and fired in an oven. Experts say that ancient Iraqis believed the plaques protected them from evil and sickness.

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