Friday, June 16, 2006

Documents May Link Cheney to Halliburton No-Bid Iraq Contract


Documents May Link Cheney to Halliburton No-Bid Iraq Contract
t r u t h o u t | Press Release

Friday 16 June 2006

Newly released documents raise questions regarding involvement of Vice President's office.

Washington, DC - Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that the Department of the Army, per order of U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina, has released to Judicial Watch approximately 100 pages of documents which detail the multi-billion dollar, no-bid contract awarded in 2003 by the Army to Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton Co. One document uncovered by Judicial Watch suggests the United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) may have publicly lied regarding the involvement of the Vice President's office in awarding the contract.

In an email dated April 22, 2003, Carol Sanders of the USACE, writes, "Mr. Robert Andersen, Chief Counsel, USACE, participated in a 60 Minutes interview today in New York regarding the sole source award of the oil response contract to Kellogg, Brown and Root.... Mr. Andersen ... was able to make many of the points we had planned." Sanders subsequently provided sound bites from the interview, including, "There was no contact whatsoever (with the VP office)."

This directly contradicts another email uncovered by Judicial Watch in 2004. The email, dated March 5, 2003, sent by an official of the Army Corps of Engineers whose name was redacted, stated, "We anticipate no issue [with the KBR deal] since the action has been coordinated w VP's office."

The newly released documents also prove the Department of the Army abused the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process by improperly invoking exemptions. One document, for example, includes a frank admission by an Army Corps of Engineer official: "I am copying you on this crap since I honestly believe the competitive procurement will never happen." The Army attempted to withhold this embarrassing document even though no appropriate exemption applied. It took the intervention of a federal district judge to force the Army to release the document.

"These new documents raise questions about the involvement of the Vice President's office in the controversial KBR deal. One has to wonder whether the Army was being forthright about the issue," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

Noting Vice President Cheney's prior relationship to Halliburton, Judicial Watch filed its FOIA request to obtain documents pertaining to the lucrative no-bid contract. The vice president's associations with Halliburton "raise concerns about the appearance of a conflict of interest or favoritism," Judicial Watch argued, "particularly since the contract was awarded to KBR without a bidding process and because the contract was not announced to the public until after it was approved."


To read the documents obtained by Judicial Watch, please click here.

For more information on the case, click here.


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