On June 8, 2017, CPO attended a panel discussion entitled, "Preserving Northern Iraq's Cultural Heritage." The major theme of the event was to document the good work the Smithsonian is doing stabilizing what is left of Nimrud after ISIS dynamited and bulldozed much of the site.
However, the continued hype about the supposed value of ISIS looted material ($80 million!) as well as surprising claims that cultural heritage preservation fights terrorism and fosters minority rights seem calculated to sway Trump Administration and Congressional budget officials as much as anything else. Indeed, it probably was no coincidence that representatives of the House Foreign Relations Committee were in the audience.
If anything, the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) should be subject to serious scrutiny from appropriators given the $900,000 taxpayer costs of ASOR's cooperative agreement with the State Department, ASOR's efforts to lobby on issues related to that same contract, and the continuing efforts of ASOR members to hype the value of looting by ISIS long after other, more disinterested sources have questioned such hype.