Thursday, June 23, 2005

Checking the Bill is Easier When Items Are NOT Blacked Out

Representatives on both sides of the aisle are united in demanding to know more about the Pentagon's payments to Halliburton. They're targeting a disputed $2.5 billion bill for fuel imports and Iraqi oil site repairs.

The Pentagon tried to keep secret what their auditors found out. That probe suggested that $200 million in Halliburton invoices were not valid.

Washington set up something called th Development Fund for Iraq back in 2003. It took money from the sales of Iraqi oil and used that cash to pay for some of the rebuilding. Over about a year and a half, the money came to about $19.6 billion. The money was spent -- with very little oversight.

When Congress wanted to know how the money was spent, the Pentagon sent over audit reports. But information on Halliburton subsidiary KBR were blacked out. And it appears a representative from KBR told the Pentagon what to black out before providing the reports to Congress. (International Herald Tribune)

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