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November 25, 2006

Give ‘Em Hell, Henry!

Posted in: Afghanistan,Iraq,War profiteering

Ball Crusher
Rep. Henry A. Waxman. Democrat. Crushing the nuts of war profiteers, one testicle at a time.

The Associated Press' Erica Werner put together a story on the next House Government Reform Committee chairman, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-California) and his priorities for the 110th Congress.

Waxman's biggest challenge as he mulls what to probe?

"The most difficult thing will be to pick and choose," he said.

Touche, Rep. Waxman. The malfeasance of the current administration occupying the White House is so widespread that it is beyond belief. It is like when you were a kid on Christmas morning and your gifts were all over the living room. Where do you start? The Katrina disaster on the couch or the steaming pile of corruption in front of the fireplace?

One thing is for sure…

"There is just no question that life is going to be different for the administration," said Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., the current committee chairman.

Only one can hope. And if by "different" you mean "tough" or "difficult," then yes. Laughing

"Henry is going to be tough. … And he's been waiting a long time to be able to do this."

I think millions of Americans have been waiting a long time. Here is one of the many tales of corruption for Rep. Waxman to look into. Vice President Cheney's former employer stands accused of attempting to obstruct oversight, as the Houston Chronicle reported in late October.

Giant military contractor Halliburton Co. has hampered oversight of its work in Iraq by abusing rules designed to protect sensitive, proprietary information, a government inspector general said.

Examining Halliburton subsidiary KBR's performance providing logistical support for operations in the Green Zone in Iraq, Stuart Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, blasted the Houston firm for using a regulation designed to ensure that contractors do not learn the business secrets of their competitors, to keep much of its work for the government under wraps.

"In effect, KBR has turned (federal) provisions designed to protect truly proprietary information … into a mechanism to prevent the government from releasing normally transparent information, thus potentially hindering competition and oversight," Bowen wrote in a report released Friday.

Stuart Bowen, a Republican lawyer, was the Pentagon inspector general in Iraq that was fired when President Bush signed a military appropriation authorization bill that would have taken effect in October 2007. Included in the legislation was a provision to terminate the investigatory agency, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), that operated under Bowen's direction and caused headaches for the Bush administration over reconstruction.

Just three weeks ago, questions arose over Halliburton's charges for 1,800 fuel trucks at $25,000 a month each, after the initial 2003 invasion, which spent "days or weeks" sitting idle at the Iraqi-Kuwait border.

For those of you that have a special "affinity" for Halliburton, here's some news on the company unrelated to war profiteering.

It seems that the former CFO from 1997 until mid-2002, Gary Morris, testified in February 2006 that he was being paid $20,000 a month for minimal work that included "'phone calls and questions' on matters such as incentive plans." Halliburton refused to disclose if he has continued to receive payments beyond February. Go figure.

This would sound eerily reminiscent of another high-level Halliburton official, if one could say starting a war constitutes "minimal work."

(photo credit — Bloomberg News)


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