Army National Guard Soldiers wait in the cargo hold of a C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft before taking off for a training jump Jan. 23, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nathan Clark)

The National Guard Association is criticizing as "shameful" an Army investigation into a fraudulent recruitment program recently investigated by the CBS News program "60 Minutes."

The investigation made soldiers into scapegoats and even the service admits it was badly managed from the start.

The May 22 episode of the news program examined the Army’s extensive review of the Guard’s Recruiting Assistance Program, an effort launched in 2005 to help the service meet manpower needs during the Iraq war.

The program paid soldiers who signed up as informal "recruiting assistants" between $2,000 and $7,500 for each person they helped to enlist. The service suspended the effort in 2012 after auditors flagged suspect payments.

That same year, the Army set up a special unit of 60 full-time agents to investigate every one of the 105,000 soldiers who received bonuses.

So far, the Army has spent nearly $28 million to uncover $10 million of alleged fraud, "60 Minutes" reported. Over 100,000 soldiers have been cleared of wrongdoing with more than 4,000 still under investigation.

"When you zero in on the time that this program was initiated in 2005, the Army was under a lot of stress. We were fighting in two…

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