Sunday, October 29, 2006

In imitation of the master:

The Halliburton subsidiary that provides food, shelter and other logistics to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan exploited federal regulations to hide details on its contract performance, according to a report released Friday.

The special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction found that Halliburton's Kellogg, Brown & Root Services routinely marked all information it gave to the government as proprietary, whether it actually was or not....

In effect, Kellogg, Brown & Root turned the regulations "into a mechanism to prevent the government from releasing normally transparent information, thus potentially hindering competition and oversight." ...

So what's so secret?

... Halliburton subsidiary KBR, for example, listed the number of meals served at dining halls where it is the contractor as proprietary, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The Chronicle also notes this bit of petty nastiness:

The inspector general also accused KBR officials of trying to impede his office's effort to analyze data.

The company, for instance, was asked to turn over information pertaining to the amount of fuel KBR provided to foreign embassies.

Instead of providing the data in its original Excel spreadsheet format, the inspector general said, the company turned over a 50-page, Acrobat PDF file, which could not be converted back into a spreadsheet.

Auditors would have had to "reenter the data into a spreadsheet, a time consuming process, to perform any meaningful analysis of the data."

Ah, but we're assure that deeming virtually everything it does for the government as none of the government's business is just standard operating procedure:

Halliburton spokeswoman Cathy Mann, in an e-mail, said ... that "KBR has included proprietary markings on the majority of its data and property in support of its government contracts for the U.S. Army for at least the last decade."

You mean, since around 1995, when Dick Cheney became CEO of Halliburton?

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