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IRAQ: Halliburton and oil

Tim Ashby forwarded this information about Halliburton's work in Iraq: "Since extinguishing Iraq's oil fires and performing related emergency work, Halliburton Co. has been paid an additional $24 million to supply Iraqis with oil from other countries and help restart the petroleum industry. A spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers, who provided the figures, acknowledged the agency purposely played down the additional work in statements to Congress and the media. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., revealed Tuesday that the firm once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney had a more lucrative, emergency no-bid contract than originally revealed. Previous announcements said the emergency, no-bid contract was to fight oil fires. The Corps said Halliburton's KBR subsidiary has been paid $76.7 million since early March for all its work in Iraq. Corps spokesman Scott Saunders said his organization did not emphasize the additional work because, "We didn't think the contingency was going to be exercised. We didn't think the initial contract would be involved with operating facilities and distribution of the product, so we didn't play that up in the beginning in correspondence to Capitol Hill and in speaking to the news media." Cheney's office has said repeatedly that the vice president has no role in Halliburton's operations or its government contracts. Saunders said KBR is procuring oil from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to meet desperate shortages, especially in Baghdad, where there was only a five-day supply of gasoline. Asked whether the administration had a perception problem, presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "Congressman Waxman has never met a Republican he didn't want to investigate".

Ronald Hilton - 5/11/03