Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Profits That Bush Honors ... or ...The Wrath of Kahn

Inside the world of war profiteers
From prostitutes to Super bowl tickets, a federal probe reveals how contractors in Iraq cheated the U.S.

Federal prosecutors in Rock Island have indicted four former supervisors from KBR, the giant defense firm that holds the contract, along with a decorated Army officer and five executives from KBR subcontractors based in the U.S. or the Middle East.
The Pentagon has outsourced crucial troop support jobs while slashing the number of government contract watchdogs.
Last week, the Army pledged to add 1,400 positions to its contracting command.

Former KBR procurement manager Stephen Seamans, who was wearing a wire strapped on by a Rock Island agent, wondered aloud whether to return $65,000 in kickbacks he got from his two companions, executives from the Saudi conglomerate Tamimi Global Co.

One of the men, Tamimi operations director Shabbir Khan, urged him to hide the money by concocting phony business records.
October 2002, five months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Khan threw a birthday party for Seamans at a Tamimi "party house" near the Kuwait base known as Camp Arifjan. Khan "provided Seamans with a prostitute as a present," Rock Island prosecutors wrote in court papers. Driving Seamans back to his quarters, Khan offered kickbacks that would total $130,000.
In April 2003, as American troops poured into Iraq, Seamans gave Khan inside information that enabled Tamimi to secure a $2 million KBR subcontract to establish a mess hall at a Baghdad palace. Seamans submitted change orders that inflated that subcontract to $7.4 million.
By July 2005, Tamimi had secured some 30 KBR troop feeding subcontracts worth $793.5 million, records show. Khan continued to negotiate Iraq war subcontracts for Tamimi until shortly before he was arrested in Rock Island in March 2006.
"If you ever gave Tamimi a hard time, you'd get a call," former KBR subcontract manager Harry DeWolf told the Tribune.

When subcontracts came up for renegotiation, DeWolf said, companies like Tamimi "would say, 'Fine, we're going to pull out all of our people and equipment.' They really had KBR and the government over the barrel."

February 21, 2008 Hundreds of pages of recently unsealed court records detail how kickbacks shaped the war's largest troop support contract months before the first wave of U.S. soldiers plunged their boots into Iraqi sand.
Full disclosure: I rearranged a few of the paragraphs in the article to make a timeline. I recommend you read the whole article.

I'll wait ...

... hmm, hmm da, de da, da, dada, da duh, da, de dah ...

good, you're back! And in related news:
Former Halliburton subsidiary KBR's 4th quarter profits up 65%

Former Halliburton subsidiary KBR Inc. said Tuesday fourth-quarter profit rose 65 percent, lifted by contributions from natural-gas projects, work in Iraq and a tax benefit related to a 2006 asset sale.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak