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President Barack Obama has signed into law a measure giving the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction more power to hire and fire personnel, the White House said Tuesday.

The special inspector’s office, known as SIGAR, is an effort to root out fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement or reprisals involving U.S.-funded reconstruction projects in Afghanistan. A similar effort in Iraq led to several convictions and the discovery of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of fraud.

Arnold Fields, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, recently announced a campaign to increase awareness.

“Weak oversight means we are open to wasting valuable taxpayer dollars, as has reportedly happened in Iraq,” Fields said. “We need the help of those on the front lines of U.S.-funded reconstruction projects, including U.S. government employees, military servicemembers, contractors and the general public. If they see something they believe is suspicious or illegal, we are asking them to tell us so we can look into it.”

Reports of suspected illegal activity can be made by phone, e-mail, fax or through the special inspector general’s Web site at

Fields, a retired Marine Corps major general, was appointed to the post in June 2008. SIGAR was mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2008 and formally reports to Congress quarterly.

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