Army Overseer Tells of Ouster Over KBR Stir
WASHINGTON — The Army official who managed the Pentagon’s largest contract in Iraq says he was ousted from his job when he refused to approve paying more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR, the Houston-based company that has provided food, housing and other services to American troops.
The official, Charles M. Smith, was the senior civilian overseeing the multibillion-dollar contract with KBR during the first two years of the war. Speaking out for the first time, Mr. Smith said that he was forced from his job in 2004 after informing KBR officials that the Army would impose escalating financial penalties if they failed to improve their chaotic Iraqi operations.
Army auditors had determined that KBR lacked credible data or records for more than $1 billion in spending, so Mr. Smith refused to sign off on the payments to the company. “They had a gigantic amount of costs they couldn’t justify,” he said in an interview. “Ultimately, the money that was going to KBR was money being taken away from the troops, and I wasn’t going to do that.”
But he was suddenly replaced, he said, and his successors — after taking the unusual step of hiring an outside contractor to consider KBR’s claims — approved most of the payments he had tried to block.
Army officials denied that Mr. Smith had been removed because of the dispute, but confirmed that they had reversed his decision, arguing that blocking the payments to KBR would have eroded basic services to troops. They said that KBR had warned that if it was not paid, it would reduce payments to subcontractors, which in turn would cut back on services.
“You have to understand the circumstances at the time,” said Jeffrey P. Parsons, executive director of the Army Contracting Command. “We could not let operational support suffer because of some other things.”@ TNYT
ONE BILLION BUCKS! or we kill the bunny! You would not want us to do that would you?
Like the lying-ass contractors they are, KBR has sheltered it's income through offshore accounts and is now threatening to withhold vital services from the troops?
Takes guts to rip off America and dare someone to do something to stop them. Sure do not want to blow that whistle thats for sure, you will be disposed of.
If that does not sound like a Mafia operation, nothing does. Yet it goes on unabated every day, day after day. If it was up to me KBR would be up to it's eyeballs in lawsuits to regain lost taxpayer dollars and give that guy his job back.
Meanwhile the war goes on, troops die, KBR rips off America for record profits.
Life goes on for some, while others die for nothing.