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Army Overseer Tells of Ouster Over KBR Stir
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times

New York Times, June 17, 2008
Posted: June 26th, 2008

The Army official who managed the Pentagons 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 couldnt justify, he said in an interview. But he was suddenly replaced, he said, and his successors after taking the unusual step of hiring an outside contractor to consider KBRs claims approved most of the payments he had tried to block. Mr. Smiths account fills in important gaps about the Pentagons handling of the KBR contract, which has cost more than $20 billion so far and has come under fierce criticism from lawmakers. Mr. Smith ... is giving his account just as the Pentagon has recently awarded KBR part of a 10-year, $150 billion contract in Iraq.

Note: For a summary of US Marine Corps General Smedley Butler's book on war profiteering, click here.

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