The House Oversight Committee’s two-year investigation found quibbling over a glass wall at the embassy in Indonesia cost “tens of millions of dollars in change order requests,” and nearly $3 million was spent on art at the U.S. embassy in Pakistan.
One of the biggest bills came from Mexico, where the U.S. government paid $120 million for a 15-acre lot and $56 million on the design of the diplomatic mission. But nothing has been built there yet. Chaffetz, who visited the site, said costs will climb above the more-than-$943 million estimate.
“Something has to change because they’re building them slower, they’re coming in over budget, they’re not necessarily as secure and they’re so ostentatious,” Chaffetz said.
“So for the next secretary of state, is this top of the list?” Brennan asked.
“I’m glad we have a Mr. Trump coming in because I think he’ll get it and I think he’ll know how to fix it, and fix it in a hurry,” Chaffetz said.
But the strict security standards of building a post for classified diplomatic work isn’t your typical real estate project.
“Do you have any kind of timeline as to when these embassies will be both secure and finished?” Brennan asked State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner.
“All I can say is that our diplomatic security bureau, our overseas buildings and operations bureau and our management bureau work hand in hand to ensure that safety is foremost, first and foremost,” Toner said.
State Department officials said they’re mindful that what embassies look like impacts perception of the U.S. But they insist that despite the delays, the projects will remain within budget.