U.S. Ambassador derailed bid process for Iraq fuel contract.

State Department documents released yesterday reveal that the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait used his influence to override a bidding process on a subcontract from Halliburton for delivering fuel to Iraq in order to make certain that a Kuwaiti business would land the job. These documents contradict claims by the Bush administration that “all decisions involving Halliburton’s contracts were handled only by career contracting officers for the government.”

On May 4, 2003, Halliburton asked three Kuwaiti companies to bid. The next day, Halliburton, through its KBR subsidiary, placed its first order with Altanmia.

By that December, an Army Corps of Engineers contracting officer was pushing Halliburton to put the fuel delivery contract out for competitive bids.

That same month, U.S. Ambassador Richard Jones wrote that Halliburton officials had to “get off their butts and conclude deals” that would keep Altanmia as a subcontractor.

“Tell them we want a deal done with Altanmia within 24 hours and don’t take any excuses,” Jones wrote. The documents, turned over to a congressman by the State Department, do not disclose to whom Jones’ message was directed.

Another memo, this one to Jones, said: “As KBR has been told repeatedly, Altanmia is the GOK’s (Government of Kuwait’s) sole source provider. The GOK has established Altanmia as a sop to the USG (United States Government) in order to allow sales from Altanmia to KBR.”

A Halliburton spokeswoman, Wendy Hall, said that KBR “delivered fuel to Iraq at the best value, the best price, and the best terms and in ways completely consistent with government procurement policies. The original mission detailed by the Army Corps of Engineers was to find a fuel source in the region. The first fuel source found was in Kuwait.”

Except that it wasn’t an open bidding process like it was supposed to be and a U.S. Ambassador is using his position inappropriately. Oh, and Halliburton and Altanmia went on to overcharge for their services:

The embassy intervention to retain Altanmia brought a strong protest from the career Army contracting official who was overseeing the work to deliver fuel to Iraq.

“My ethics will not allow me to direct KBR to go sole source to a contractor when I know there are other potential sources that can provide the fuel to the people in Iraq,” Army Corps of Engineers contracting officer Mary Robertson wrote an official of KBR.

Robertson said the lack of competition would result in higher fuel prices being paid by U.S. taxpayers.

Robertson’s Dec. 6, 2003, prediction of higher prices proved to be accurate. Five days later, a draft report by the Pentagon’s audit agency disclosed that Halliburton and the Kuwaiti subcontractor had overcharged taxpayers $61 million for gasoline imports to Iraq in the initial months of the contract.

Boy, it sure is nice to have a President with an administration we can trust not to lie to us or engage in ethically questionable conduct!

12 thoughts on “U.S. Ambassador derailed bid process for Iraq fuel contract.

  1. i’m not so sure how to do the cool blue-block quote.  i hope this does it.

    A department summary of an Aug. 4, 2003, noted, “Some of these charges are almost too flamboyant not to have at least a grain – however tiny – of truth to them.”

    i just want to serve as a reminder for people how dangerous half-truths are.  they are excellent propoganda because, on the surface, they look to be factual and the whole story.  i don’t necessarily see that this is bush ‘lying’ to the public. if that’s what you want to believe, then you’ll see it that way.

    with that in mind, i noticed a super-swell quote on this site this morning.  it fits in nicely here.  i don’t know where you get these quotes, les, but i dig ‘em.

    “No amount of belief makes something a fact.”

    —James Randi

    just something to knaw on.

  2. Boy, it sure is nice to have a President with an administration we can trust not to lie to us or engage in ethically questionable conduct!

    12 years and counting, Les.

    Grey, it’s

    < blockquote >


    < /blockquote >

    (assuming that what I just did above works well.

  3. Well, grey, it’s true that this hasn’t been settled yet.  I don’t believe for a second that there’s ever been a president who never lied to the public at some point in time.  But there were some people asserting on other threads that they liked Bush because he always tells the truth and does what he says he’ll do.  I think that’s a load of hogwash.  I didn’t take Les’ quote to mean that other pres. are more truthful by comparison.

  4. The truth will set you free. By the way, Bush my not have lied knowingly, but as President all roads of responsibilty end at the white house and while he may not be personally responsible for any malfeance it will be interesting to see if Bush causes any heads to roll if wrong doing is proven. With the track record of shifting responsibilty in this administration I don’t hold much hope.

  5. Stories such as this just continue to buttress my feelings of Bush being a spineless, shifty, and self-serving bureaucrat.

    While I would agree we have been lied to by almost all, if not all of our presidents, we have generally had leaders with a certain degree of principle.  When things are going well, Bush is the first to take the credit, and when things go poorly, he’s first to point the finger.  Those are not leadership principles.

    Regardless if he lied about it or not, regardless if he knew about it our not, I just want him to stand up and take responsibility for his administration.

  6. Run…White people are coming!

    (Nuclear bomb explodes and ravages every living microorganism in site).

    5 billion humans (including all animal and plant lifeforms ranging in numbers from 3 trillion to 6 trillion) are all incinerated to death by 2 massive hydrogen bombs both named “Dear, John” and “Goodbye.”

    The end (Like Mel Brooks intended it).



  7. thanks ben

    I don’t believe for a second that there’s ever been a president who never lied to the public at some point in time

    i couldn’t agree more

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