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Halliburton earns more than originally disclosed on Iraq-related projects.

The Evil Genius

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Halliburton earns on Iraq-related projects.

By Joshua Chaffin in Washington

Halliburton, the US construction and energy services company, has reaped nearly $500m from Iraq (news - web sites)- related projects in the past two years, well in excess of the amounts previously disclosed, according to a prominent congressional White House critic.

Representative Henry Waxman, the California Democrat whose office published that figure on Thursday, warned that the company's future revenues in Iraq were "virtually limitless", thanks to an open-ended logistics contract with the US army. Mr Waxman also demanded additional details about that agreement.

Mr Waxman's remarks and the new contract figures are likely to reignite a controversy surrounding Halliburton's role in rebuilding postwar Iraq.

The company, which was run by Dick Cheney, vice-president, from 1995-2000, has been dogged by suggestions of favouritism from Mr Waxman and other Democrats.

Critics have also pointed to past studies showing cost overruns and inflated bills for projects Halliburton carried out in the Balkans on behalf of the US government.

Halliburton took a stronger line than usual in defending itself on Thursday, pointing out that the company won the original army contract in question - known as Logcap I - in 1992, well before Mr Cheney joined its ranks.

Halliburton also took issue with any implications of profiteering. "To suggest that either Halliburton or any of the firms that support the Department of Defense advocate war in order to make money is an affront to all hardworking, honourable Halliburton employees," the company said.

The controversy is part of a wider debate over the Pentagon's increasing use of private companies to handle much of its support work.

Advocates of the practice claim it saves the government money. But it has also created headaches for companies such as Halliburton that have high-level political connections.

Halliburton first came under scrutiny in April after Mr Waxman revealed that the Army Corps of Engineers had awarded it a contract worth as much as $7 billion - without any competition - to extinguish oil-well fires in Iraq.

The government defended the closed bidding process, citing national security considerations and the emergency nature of the work, which called for a large and experienced contractor.

Halliburton also pointed out that it expected to receive far less than the maximum value of the contract because, ultimately, few Iraqi wells were torched. To date, the company has carried out about $71m in work orders.

But Mr Waxman yesterday noted that Halliburton had garnered about $425m in additional Iraq-related projects through Logcap III, the separate army contract won in December 2001. One of the Iraq projects under Logcap III was assigned nearly a year before the war began.

The Logcap contracts are open-ended assignments to supply logistical support to the army around the world, including construction of bases and transport of materials.

"It is simply remarkable that a single company could earn so much money from the war in Iraq," Mr Waxman wrote in a letter yesterday to Les Brownlee, the acting secretary of the army.

Halliburton said the contract included mechanisms that discouraged any unwarranted spending.

The army did not immediately return a call on Thursday evening.

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Originally posted by The Evil Genius

Halliburton also took issue with any implications of profiteering. "To suggest that either Halliburton or any of the firms that support the Department of Defense advocate war in order to make money is an affront to all hardworking, honourable Halliburton employees," the company said.

"As a result, both of those employees have been dismissed," the company added.

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Alright, so now we know why one Dem senator and our president were for the war.

Of course feinstein would be for any war...we need more guns...

Bush and Cheaney are just for this war...need more oil money for companies that contribute to Republican campaigns.

A pox on both houses.

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Yeah, I would just prefer a bidding process like the government usually does rather than just awarding contracts to buddies or family.

As a general rule, I'd also avoid open ended contracts like the halliburton one where it turns out they could "oversee" oil in Iraq rather than just put out fires as originally published.

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That may be their first contract. I remember the news reporting that the contract for the oil fires was during the war, and it was without bidding. I rose a stink about on here then. That's why the senate was looking into it.

Like I said, open ended contracts suck. If it was for oil fires and now they get to manage oil coming out of Iraq...:gus: you'll have a hard time convincing me we hired them to a contract in 1992 for putting out oil fires in 2003.

Of course it's worth noting that when Cheney was hired he had already worked for multiple presidents. It would be hard to argue that the contract didn't go to Halliburton absed on political connections. It would also be hard to argue that Hallitburton doesn't make it a priority to be politically connected (probably to both sides of the aisle when possible).

For them to get contracts without bidding stinks to high heaven.

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anyone remotely familiar with A-8s knows that this is not a competetive contract by design - political criteria (really racial) play into it. Moreover, anyone familiar with 8-As also knows how some very rich people continually abuse the system.

Don't get me wrong archangel of goodness, I happen to favor 8-As. I just see them for what they are....and I have a lot of experience, including personal friends, with this advantageous contracting vehicle. i have several friends who have retired young based on 8-As.

Since we're all being so noble, does anyone here seriously doubt that the contracting process is highly infused with political considerations regardless of political inclinations? From the big guys to the small ones there are istorical relationships, there are networking relationships, there are personal relationships....one only hopes that in the aggregate the tax-payer receives value for dollar invested. but, please, don't single out a few culprits because you are offended by the number of commas in the final figure when the whole system works this way: whether it's a city contract manipulated by Unions or a DoD contrcat for computer parts that must not be manufactured overseas.

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Archangel? Noble? Was that directed at me?

Look, not everybody is familiar with the language of government contracting. From your response, I though you were equating the minority/disadvantaged set-aside program with the Halliburton situation, which is basically a sole-source directed award to a particular contractor. I know there's a certain level of wiring a contract to a specific vendor, but 8-A itself includes a competitive bid process.

I don't see what 8-A and sole-source have to do with each other. As you point out, the 8-A program is rife with abuse. But as you also point out those abuses are rampant in all areas of government contracting.

Not trying to be noble, I just don't see the connection.

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JDM.....temperate response.....so you are due the same....

- equating is not the correct word

- the force behind the original accusation was that political/self interests moitivated the Halliburton contracts. my point is that the whole process (from large contracts in which there are only 2-3 competitors to very small ones) is suffused with these sorts of cross-cutting interests.

- the 8-A point served to highlight that some contracts are awarded directly for socio-political reasons (read minority politics). My concern is not with the accusation, but that the finger points in all directions. Otherwise, we are back to selective ethics and all bets are off.

the fundamental idea in play is about the "fairness" of the contracting process.....

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