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The government's contract with Halliburton stinks, and new information keeps coming up to cast suspicion both on the contract itself, and how it was issued without the normal competitive bid. Some people keep defending Halliburton and the contract, even as the Pentagon is investigating the company for huge overcharges.

The linked article is about a contracting specialist who thought that the contract was fishy, pointed it out to the Pentagon people making the deal, and was totally ignored. The Pentagon has kept her silenced, and this news is only now just coming to light. Even now, the Pentagon is keeping her from giving interviews, in spite of repeated requests from Time Magazine.

Bush supporters will keep insisting that everything about the Halliburton contract in on the up and up, but you should keep asking: Why are they trying to silence this woman? Why do new fishy details keep leaking out, when the Bush administration told us that it has nothing to hide?

Two patterns are revealed by the government's deals with Halliburton. One is that the Bush administration is chummier with military contractors than nearly any other administration. It's an embodiment of what President Eisenhower warned us about in his final speech as president: the danger of the developing military-industrial complex. Individuals go from controlling the granting of Pentagon contracts to being executives and stockholders of the very companies that received those contracts. Meanwhile, executive at those companies are brought in as appointees to the Pentagon who then grant contracts to the companies for which they once worked.

The second pattern is the extreme secrecy of the current administration. In a dramatic reverse of the Clinton administration's expansive interpretation of the Freedom of Information Act, one of the first acts of the Bush administration was to order agencies to look for any possible reason to keep government documents secret, so we're left with a government that never tells us how or why it made its decisions. The problems is that the last four years have taught us that when we suspect the Bush administration is abusing its powers -- to detain people who are never charged, to hold American citizens without access to legal counsel or other basic constitutional rights, to hide evidence that the Bush policies are not working -- we always find out our suspicions were right. The Bush administration's motto boils down to "trust us", but the administration goes to unprecedented lengths to deny us any way of judging whether it can be trusted.

This is from Time:
Then several representatives from Halliburton entered. Greenhouse, a top contracting specialist for the Army Corps of Engineers, grew increasingly concerned that they were privy to internal discussions of the contract's terms, so she whispered to the presiding general, insisting that he ask the Halliburton employees to leave the room.

Once they had gone, Greenhouse raised other concerns. She argued that the five-year term for the contract, which had not been put out for competitive bid, was not justified, that it should be for one year only and then be opened to competition. But when the contract-approval document arrived the next day for Greenhouse's signature, the term was five years. With war imminent, she had little choice but to sign. But she added a handwritten reservation that extending a no-bid contract beyond one year could send a message that "there is not strong intent for a limited competition."

[snip]

Greenhouse seems to have got nothing but trouble for questioning the deal. Warned to stop interfering and threatened with a demotion, the career Corps employee decided to act on her conscience, according to her lawyer, Michael Kohn. Kohn, who has represented other federal whistle-blowers, last week sent a letter—obtained by TIME from congressional sources—on her behalf to the acting Secretary of the Army. In it Kohn recounts Greenhouse's Pentagon meeting and demands an investigation of alleged violations of Army regulations in the contract's awarding. (The Pentagon justified the contract procedures as necessary in a time of war, saying KBR was the only choice because of security clearances that it had received earlier.) Kohn charges that Greenhouse's superiors have tried to silence her; he says she has agreed to be interviewed, pending approval from her employer, but the Army failed to make her available despite repeated requests from TIME.

[snip]

The Pentagon maintains that it awarded Halliburton's Iraq contracts appropriately, as does a Halliburton spokeswoman. A senior military official says the Army "has referred the matter to the inspector general of the Department of Defense." As for Halliburton, it has faced alleged cost overruns, lost profits and seen at least 54 company contractors killed in Iraq. Greenhouse, meanwhile, has requested protection from retaliation. But her career—and reputation—are on the line.

Comments
on Oct 24, 2004
This too is old news and has been beat to death with a dead horse. Lets get back to things that are really important.
on Oct 24, 2004
Lets get back to things that are really important.


Amazing. SBVT and their allegations against Kerry about things that happened 35 years ago aren't "old news," but this, something that's happening now, is.

I like ya, drmiler, but you do have some interesting double standards.
on Oct 24, 2004
Sadly, noone's cornered the market on double standards.

However, knowing that the Halliburton contracts are a political hot potato, knowing how there is always at least one such "whistleblower" who objects to or opposes practically everything a government agency does, and knowing how people like blogic would twist any explanation or facts into a convoluted pretzel no matter the justification for awarding the contracts in that form & that manner (remember, there is no justification that would be satisfactory to them, that's a given), who can blame them for pushing it off till after the silly season.

And, as usual, blogic uses a headline that is not quite valid - in order for someone to be a "Halliburton Whistleblower" they would have to be a Halliburton employee. The person in question is a Pentagon employee. She may have had what she considered valid reasons for her position but was apparently overruled, if her allegations prove to be substantiated. There may have been overriding considerations to which she was not privy. Whatever, the Pentagon investigates contracts all the time for overcharges, so that is hardly a smoking gun.

The problems is that the last four years have taught us that when we suspect the Bush administration is abusing its powers -- to detain people who are never charged, to hold American citizens without access to legal counsel or other basic constitutional rights, to hide evidence that the Bush policies are not working -- we always find out our suspicions were right.


What do you mean suspect? The administration was quite open about the reasons for detaining certain individuals and the justification in law, has briefly held one American citizen who it turned out did not have cause to be held without counsel (based on mistaken identity, not on a policy), and I simply reject your third premise.

Cheers,
on Oct 24, 2004
Amazing. SBVT and their allegations against Kerry about things that happened 35 years ago aren't "old news," but this, something that's happening now, is.


I'd be much happier if everyone left the candidates pasts out of this, they both are harmed by them.
on Oct 24, 2004

Reply #2 By: Myrrander - 10/24/2004 7:14:05 PM
Lets get back to things that are really important.


Amazing. SBVT and their allegations against Kerry about things that happened 35 years ago aren't "old news," but this, something that's happening now, is.

I like ya, drmiler, but you do have some interesting double standards


Again myrrander you have misinterpreted what the SBV problem is. And your not the only one. They basically could care less what he did in Nam 35yrs ago. What they *really* care about is like me, what he did and said upon his return home. You really should watch that documentary "Stolen Honor". It'll open your eyes wide! Besides how many times and ways can we hash over Hallibutons misdeeds. If indeed thwy *are* misdeeds the law will handle it.
on Oct 25, 2004
the law will handle it


Interesting statement. How? Who is going to take the company to court or investigate the issue? Who is responsible for determining if the law is broken? Who ensures no conflicts or interest occur?

I was under the assumption that a company being investigated for fraud was ineligible to be granted government contracts. If this is true, then the government broke the law. How wil lthe law handle this?

A confused non american,

Paul.
on Oct 25, 2004
One thing about the American Right, Solitair, is that they will rely on the gov't (the law in this case) to do everything they deem right, however the minute 'the law' does something they disagree with, they will decry them as liberal activist judges. Logic, balance, and the far right tend not to mix too well.
on Oct 25, 2004
SiRMetMan -

No offense intended, but your comment suggests you don't have a real understanding of the law or the role judges play in our system.

Cheers,
Daiwa
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