Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Pentagon Shields Halliburton From U.N. Probe

Pentagon Shields Halliburton From U.N. Probe
By Staff and Wire Reports
Jun 22, 2005, 06:25
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U.S. lawmakers took aim at the Pentagon on Tuesday for hiding information from U.N.-mandated auditors about U.S contractor Halliburton, with Republicans calling it an embarrassment.

"This is a self-inflicted wound, a needless failure to meet transparency obligations," Rep. Christopher Shays, a Republican from Connecticut, told a U.S. House of Representatives panel.

The hearing was called to look at U.S. management of Iraqi funds after the 2003 invasion. An audit by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found the U.S.-led authority there could not properly account for $8.8 billion of Iraq's money.

Texas-based Halliburton -- run by Vice President Dick Cheney until the 2000 race for the White House -- was paid about $1.7 billion out of these funds to bring in fuel for Iraqis under a sole source deal its unit Kellogg Brown and Root had with the U.S. military.

U.N. auditors asked for a full accounting of Iraqi money given to KBR and documents were finally handed over after much wrangling but portions detailing potential overcharges by KBR were blocked out.

"It hid almost every meaningful number or reference to question an unsupported contract cost, the very matters of most concern to them and, frankly, to us," said Shays....