Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal

Halliburton Could Get $1.5 Bln More Iraq Work-Army
Fri Feb 25, 2005 05:07 PM ET
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Halliburton Co., under scrutiny for its contracts in Iraq, would receive an extra $1.5 billion as part of the Bush administration's additional war spending proposal for fiscal 2005, a senior U.S. Army budget official said on Friday.

Halliburton, once led by Vice President Dick Cheney, is the largest corporate contractor in Iraq and has drawn fire for its no-bid contracts there, with auditors charging its Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) unit overcharged for some work.

The Army's portion of a $81.9 billion supplemental spending package earmarked the extra funding for KBR under its LOGCAP (Logistics Civil Augmentation Program) contract to provide a wide range of services to U.S. troops in Iraq, the official said. The contract covers food and laundry services, trash collection, mail delivery and other support services.

If approved by Congress, that would bring the total spending under KBR's LOGCAP contract to about $6 billion in fiscal year 2005, about the same amount spent a year earlier, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

He declined to estimate how much the Army would spend on the LOGCAP contract in fiscal 2006, but said the top U.S. commander in Baghdad was putting a big emphasis on controlling costs by setting clear standards for the services provided.

Gen. George Casey told a newspaper earlier this month that KBR had submitted budget estimates that exceeded the Army's proposed spending by $4 billion, adding, "someone has made assumptions that have driven the costs through the roof."

Overall, KBR has earned $7.2 billion under a massive 2001 logistics contract with the U.S. military and could earn more than $10 billion under that deal. It has separate deals with the government for reconstruction work in Iraq.

The senior Army official said the proposed supplemental budget request included about $4 billion in spending to repair or upgrade weapons damaged or worn out by the war in Iraq.
In addition, the budget request included $570 million in funding for replacement of weapons lost in battle, including 13 AH-64 Apache helicopters built by Boeing Co. and five UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters built by the Sikorsky Aircraft unit of United Technologies Corp.

The budget request also included $3.3 billion for new Bradley fighting vehicles made by United Defense Industries Inc., Abrams tanks made by General Dynamics and armored Humvees.

Halliburton Contracts Illegal - Bush & Cheney Say So What

After millions of tax dollars were spent investigating how Halliburton ended up being awarded billions of dollar worth of no-bid contracts in Iraq, the Government Accounting Office determined that the company should never have been awarded the contracts in the first place.
In response to those findings, Cheney and Bush both, as much as thumbed their noses at tax payers as if to say "so what, what are you going to do about it?" Well, it's beginning to look like they were right, there is nothing we can do about it.

According to the GAO's report, Rebuilding Iraq: Fiscal Year 2003 Contract Award Procedures and Management Challenges, contracts worth billions of dollars were awarded without full and open competition, including Halliburton’s oil infrastructure contract.

The GAO found that the Bush Administration violated procurement law when it issued various task orders under existing contracts. Of the 11 task orders examined, more than half were awarded outside the scope of their contracts, according to the report.

As an example of the inept procurement process, the GAO told how "a military review board approved a six-month renewal contract with Halliburton worth $587 million in just ten minutes and based on only six pages of documentation," the report said.

Once and For All - How Did Halliburton Get Those Contracts?

Remember back when Cheney appeared on NBC's Meet the Press on Sept 14, 2003, and said, "And as vice president, I have absolutely no influence of, involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form of contracts led by the Corps of Engineers or anybody else in the federal government."

And remember when he was asked whether he had known about Halliburton's noncompetitive contract, and he said, "I don't know any of the details of the contract because I deliberately stayed away from any information on that."

Those statements were proven false by a June, 2004, article in Time Magazine entitled, “The Paper Trail: Did Cheney Okay a Deal?” As it turns out, Bush and Cheney both were informed that Halliburton would get the contract before it was awarded. Time quoted an email sent by the Army Corps of Engineers, that said the contract for construction of oil pipelines was approved by Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith“ contingent on informing WH tomorrow. We anticipate no issues since action has been coordinated w VP’s [Vice President’s] office.”
This email totally contradicts Cheney's nationally televised assertion that he had no involvement in Halliburton's contracts whatsoever. It proved once and for all that Cheney and the White House had played a key role in making Cheney's ex-employer the number one war profiteer in Iraq.

The email was dated March 5, 2003, and Halliburton was awarded the contract three days later without any bids by other companies.

The administration tried to dismiss the email by saying the employee at the Corp was just trying to give the Vice President's office a heads-up on the process. Now I suppose opinions on what the email mean could differ. However, people's opinions on what it means are likely based on what their definition of co-or-di-na-ted IS.

No Political Appointees Involved - None

Some people may recall the news conference, where State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, explained who makes the decisions on contracts. "The decisions are made by career procurement officials. There's a separation, a wall, between them and political-level questions when they're doing the contracts," he maintained. Boucher lied.

Then there was the time that the chief counsel of the Army Corp of Engineers appeared on "60 Minutes" and denied that there was any involvement by political appointees in the Halliburton contract. He specifically said: "The procurement of this particular contract was done by career civil servants." Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this guy is a liar too.

Major Joseph Yoswa, a Department of Defense spokesman, also claimed safeguards existed to insure that the process was free of favoritism. "Most important,” he said, “career civil servants, not political appointees, make final decisions on contracts," according to The New Yorker. As it turns out, the Major has a problem telling the truth as well.

Then back in August, 2003, there was Halliburton spokeswoman, Wendy Hall, who said the company’s military contracts were awarded "not by politicians but by government civil servants, under strict guidelines." I for one, would like to see the list of strict guidelines, and then, I'd like to have the names of the civil servants Wendy dealt with.

Finally, during a March 11, 2004, hearing before the Government Reform Committee, six senior officials from the CPA and DOD testified under oath, and were asked to answer the following question by Republican Committee Chairman, Tom Davis: "I want to get this on the record, and everybody is under oath. Have you or anyone in your office ever discussed with the Vice President or with his office the award of a contract for Iraqi reconstruction prior to any contract being awarded?"

Every single one of those six officials said "no sir," which means every single one of them lied under oath. So how Cheney could pull this off? How could he get all these people to lie? I may not know how he did it, but the fact is he did it and nothing has been done about it.

Because, according to the June 14, 2004, LA Times, "The Pentagon admitted that a $7 billion no-bid contract to extinguish oil fires in Iraq was awarded to Halliburton after a political appointee from the Bush administration recommended the company for the job. ... the political appointee was Michael Mobbs — a special assistant to Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. During the Summer of 2002, Mobbs was in charge of the Pentagon's Energy Infrastructure Planning Group (EIPG) to develop a plan for reconstructing Iraq's oil industry," the Times reported.

For obvious reasons, contracting experts say political appointees like Mobbs should not decide which companies compete for contracts. "The suggestion that political appointees would be directing that type of investigation does not seem consistent with maintaining the appearance of propriety," expert Steven Schooner told the Times.

How Could They Pull This Off?

In November 2002, long before the war began, a Pentagon group led by Mobbs, deceded to pay Halliburton $1.9 million to develop a secret contingency plan for handling the Iraqi oil industry. Tax payers need to understand that it was this initial task order to develop a plan, that led to the company being awarded the $7 billion oil infrastructure contract.

Remember the strategy that Cheney's developed back when he was secretary of defense under the first President Bush. It goes like this, you give Halliburton funding so it can create a market for its services and then its the logical company to hire to carry out the plan when it comes time for contracts to be awarded.

In this particular instance, according to testimony by GAO investigator, Willim Woods, at a House oversight hearing, Mobbs even acknowledged in a memo that the $1.9 million task order would uniquely position Halliburton to win the far larger sole-source contract to actually do the restoration work to Iraqi oil fields.

So once again, Cheney’s contract manipulation strategy worked like a charm.

Mott described the Halliburton contingency plan in a meeting of the Deputies Committee. Those attending the meeting included Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, the deputy national security adviser, Steven Hadley, the deputy secretaries of state and defense, and deputy director of the CIA.

On March 8, 2003, Halliburton was chosen to carry out the plan. When the contract came up in the media, Bush claimed the contract was merely a deal to put out oil well fires. However, it wasn't long before Pentagon officials were forced to admit that it was a big deal and would involve billions of dollars. But even then, they said that the contract was only temporary and would be replaced by competitively bid contracts shortly.

After umteen delays, new contracts were finally awarded on Jan 16, 2004 and surprise, surprise, Halliburton won the big prize again. An $800 million contract went to the Parsons Corporation, and a $1.2 billion contract went to Halliburton.

Bush & Cheney In Up To Their Necks

During a June 8, 2004 briefing to staff members of the House Committee on Government Reform, Pentagon officials, including Mobbs, were asked about the specific details of the contracting procedure that was employed with Halliburton.

Before making a final decision, Mobbs admitted that he briefed top officials from several executive agencies, in the Deputies Committee, to make sure they had no objections. According to Mobbs, White House Staff members were among those at the meeting.

So, we've got Cheney's top dog, Libby, and Rice's second in command, Hadley, and White House staff members, and political appointee, Mobbs, leading the pack. And Bush and Cheney want us to believe that not one of these officials uttered a word about Halliburton contracts to either one of them. Yea right.

Following the June 8th Mobb's briefing, Waxman sent a letter to Cheney and gave reporters a copy. "These new disclosures appear to contradict your assertions that you were not informed about the Halliburton contracts," Waxman wrote. "They also seem to contradict the administration's repeated assertions that political appointees were not involved in the award of the contracts to Halliburton," he said.

The letter described the briefing at which Mobbs acknowledged that he chose Halliburton. After that meeting, Mobb's said that a White House official told Douglas Feith the group did not object, according to Waxman's letter.

Waxman also raised questions about the March 5, 2003, e-mail that Cheney received. The author of that email, Stephen Browning, said in an interview that he wrote the memo after he and retired Lt Gen Jay Garner met with Douglas Feith about plans to declassify the earlier $1.8 million contract with the Halliburton. According to Browning, Feith told him that he had already informed Cheney's office. Three days later, Halliburton got the $7 billion contract and the war began March 20, 2003. At the briefing, "Browning repeated his story," Waxman wrote.
"These disclosures mean that your office was informed about the Halliburton contracts at least twice at key moments," Waxman wrote.

When Waxman tried to investigate the matter further, Cheney simply refused to respond to a request for records of any communications he and his staff had with Halliburton, or actions they took on the contracts. And in what has by now become a pattern when it comes to Cheney, Congress did nothing about it.

The Whistleblower

Finally, in October, 2004, Bunnatine Greenhouse, a top official responsible for making sure the Army Corps of Engineers complies with contracting rules, came forward and revealed that top Pentagon officials showed improper favoritism to Halliburton. Greenhouse said that when the Pentagon awarded the company a 5-year $7 billion contract, it pressured her to withdraw her objections, actions that were unprecedented in her experience, she said.

The Greenhouse allegations were first reported by Time Magazine. In a letter, Greenhouse told members of Congress that the Army gave the no-bid contract to Halliburton for political reasons. She also said the Army altered documents in order to justify the company's contract work in the Balkans.

Federal contracting rules say contracts must be awarded by career civil servants, not political appointees. Greenhouse said the Army ignored this requirement when giving contracts to Halliburton. She said the Army violated "the integrity of the federal contracting program as it relates to a major defense contractor."

"Employees of the U.S. government have taken improper action that favored KBR's interests," Greenhouse said in the letter. "This conduct has violated specific regulations and calls into question the independence" of the contracting process.

Bush & Cheney Are Busted - So What?

The media chased after that dumb 20-year-old Whitewater story (hardly the crime of the century) for 8 years To this day, I still don't know what they were trying to prove exactly. I do know it wasn't that the Clintons and their cronies had scammed billions of dollars from tax payers. Yet now with Bush administration, the media spends little or no effort exposing crimes involving real fraud and corruption even though the schemes are costing tax payers billions of dollars.

Has the mainstream media been bought off entirely?

Evelyn Pringlee.pringle@sbcglobal.netMiamisburg OH


(Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for Independent Media TV and POAC, and an investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption in government)

Army agrees to pay Halliburton $2 billion for imaginary work

8 Feb. 2005

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- The U.S. Army agreed to pay Halliburton's KBR subsidiary nearly $2 billion for work that nobody can prove ever took place. The work was allegedly performed in Iraq and Kuwait under the Army's LOGCAP contract, awarded to KBR in 2001 via competitive bidding.

Under LOGCAP, KBR is responsible for military logistics, which includes feeding the troops, transporting military supplies, constructing military housing and offices, and maintaining laundry facilities. KBR is reimbursed by the Pentagon for its costs, then paid a fee of one to three percent of those costs.

So far, KBR has received $6.4 billion for work under LOGCAP. Army auditors determined last year that 43 percent of the $4.5 billion requested by Halliburton under LOGCAP could not be verified under normal accounting procedures. In August, during the hotly-contested presidential campaign, the Army decided to withhold 15 percent of future reimbursements until KBR verifies when, how and to whom the suspicious expenses were paid. However, a few hours later the decision was abruptly reversed and the Army announced it would give Halliburton "more time" to explain itself. No reason was given for the abrupt reversal, except that the Army claimed it did not want to harm the troops in the field by withholding payments to KBR.

The Army had given the company three deadline extensions to explain the suspicious expenses, but the deadlines quickly passed with no explanation that satisfied Pentagon auditors.

The Army rejected claims by Democrats that the Bush administration had provided favorable treatment to KBR because of Vice President Dick Cheney's past association with Halliburton.

Last fall, the Pentagon's Army Matériel Command and the Defense Contract Audit Agency recommended withholding 15 percent of KBR payments. Nevertheless, the Pentagon's Defense Contract Management Agency praised the company for its "effective and efficient" accounting system. And finally, on Feb. 3, after months of internal Pentagon wrangling and three months after the presidential election, the Army made its final decision and rejected calls to withhold 15 percent of payments. In what the Washington Post called "a departure from normal policy," the Army decided to ignore its own auditors and pay KBR for all costs, plus the standard one to three percent fee, without any explanation that could justify the company's suspicious bills.

The 15 percent withholding penalty could have cost KBR $60 million a month. "This is indeed great news for KBR," said Andy Lane, chief operating officer of Halliburton, in a news release. "The Army and KBR have agreed to continue working closely together to resolve any remaining billing issues."

"This action is incomprehensible," Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) said in a prepared statement. "Once again, the Bush administration is putting Halliburton's interests above those of the taxpayers," he said.

Halliburton Doing Business With the 'Axis of Evil'

By Jefferson Morley washingtonpost.com staff writer
Thursday, February 3, 2005; 8:00 AM

The award for oddest geopolitical couple of 2005 goes to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Houston-based Halliburton. You might not think that a charter member of President Bush's "axis of evil" could enlist the oil-services firm once run by Vice President Cheney to bolster its bargaining position with an international community intent on curbing its nuclear ambitions. But that is apparently what happened last month.

The story began on Jan. 9 when the Iran News ran a Reuters story reporting that Halliburton "has won a tender to drill a huge Iranian gas field." The deal to develop two sections of Iran's South Pars gas field promises significant economic benefits.

"The project includes onshore and offshore sections and its initial phase is to become operational by the first quarter of 2007," said the Tehran-based news site. The total output of the phases will reportedly produce 50 million cubic meters per day of treated natural gas for domestic use and 80,000 barrels of gas liquids per day for export.

Within days three hard-line members of the Iranian parliament attacked the deal. In an open letter they alleged the contract had been arranged by a businessman named Sirous Naseri, who also serves on the Iranian government team negotiating with European powers seeking limits on Iran's nuclear programs.

The Halliburton contract, the parliamentarians complained, was "a threat to Iran's nuclear stance."

An Iranian government spokesman did not respond to the allegation but defended the contract saying Halliburton offered a good price and that the project "served the interests" of the Islamic state.

That probably did not please Cheney. On Inauguration Day, he told a nationwide talk radio audience that Iran was "right at the top of the list of potential trouble spots" facing the Bush administration.

Many online pundits interpreted his remarks as a threat of military action against Iran. Cheney was not asked about Halliburton's venture. Two days later, American political analyst Michael Ledeen, a neoconservative advocate of ousting the government in Tehran, described Halliburton's actions as "disgusting."

In a Jan. 23 online chat sponsored by the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran, Ledeen was asked about "secret business deals between some U.S. companies, like Halliburton, and the Islamic regime."

"What has happened is against U.S. laws . . . and the people involved in this transaction must be put in jail, according to American law," Ledeen replied. Halliburton denied it had violated a U.S. law banning "direct or indirect exportation of U.S.-origin goods, services, or technology to Iran or the Government of Iran."

Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall said the company had not broken the law because all of the work in the South Pars gas field would be done by non-Americans employed by a subsidiary registered in the Cayman Islands. "We are in the service business, not the foreign-policy business," she said. "We have followed and will continue to follow applicable laws."

Then, on Jan. 27, more details emerged. The Financial Times of London (subscription required) confirmed that Naseri, "a senior Iranian diplomat negotiating with Europe over Iran's controversial nuclear programme ... [was]... at the heart of deals with US energy companies to develop the country's oil industry."

The FT described Naseri as "a leading board member" of Oriental Kish, the Iranian company leading the South Pars project. Oriental Kish, in turn, subcontracted parts of the project to Halliburton Products and Services registered in the Cayman Islands.

Unnamed Iranian sources were quoted as saying that Naseri has a "close relationship" with Iran's clerical establishment. Oriental Kish's deal with Halliburton could not have happened without "high-level approval on the Iranian side," the FT said.

The next day Halliburton announced the South Pars gas field project would be its last in Iran.

The BBC reported that Halliburton, which took in $30-$40 million from Iranian operations in 2003, "was winding down its work due to a poor business environment."

But don't expect Halliburton to leave Iran any time soon. The company has opened an unmarked office on the 10th floor of a Tehran office building, according to Vivian Walt of Fortune Magazine.

Since the South Pars project is expected to take 52 months to complete, according to the Tehran-based Mehr news agency, Halliburton seems likely to remain in Iran through 2009.

So while President Bush attempts to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, the Tehran government reaps the benefits by doing business with Vice President Cheney's former employer.

© 2005 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A58298-2005Feb2.html