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Documents Suggest Pentagon Concealed Halliburton Contract in Months Before War

7 June 2004

WASHINGTON, June 7 (HalliburtonWatch.org press release) - HalliburtonWatch.org today joined others in demanding a full investigation into Vice President Dick Cheney's role in awarding Iraqi oil contracts to Halliburton, after releasing documents which indicate the Pentagon concealed its involvement in giving the company an illegal advantage over potential competing bidders.

In a December 30, 2002 letter to Senator John Breaux (D-LA), Alan F. Estevez, Assistant Deputy Undersecretary of Defense asserted, "we believe it is too early to speculate what might happen in the event that war breaks out in the region. If for any reason the US Government is called upon to suppress well fires through contractor support, we would do so in accordance with the Competition in Contracting Act and implementing regulations."

Yet, an "Index to Contract Actions" taken under Halliburton's LOGCAP (Army logistics) contract reveals that six weeks before Deputy Estevez's letter to Sen. Breaux, the "Office of the Secretary of Defense" issued a $1.883 million task order to the company for an "Iraqi Oil Field PLAN."

To view Deputy Estevez's letter and Halliburton's task order from the Pentagon, visit this link: http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/news/breaux_gsm.jpg

To view Halliburton's task orders from the Pentagon in Excel format, visit this link: http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/about_hal/LOGCAP.xls

This discovery comes on the heels of an email in which an unidentified Army Corps of Engineers employee contradicts Vice President Cheney's nationally televised claim that he had no involvement in Halliburton's oil contract, valued at up to $7 billion.

Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA), the ranking minority member of the House Committee on Government Reform, said the General Accounting Office (GAO) found that the oil contract was awarded to Halliburton in violation of federal procurement rules. Waxman said the oil work "was outside the scope of the LOGCAP contract and should not have been awarded to Halliburton without competition, or without at least a formal justification for eliminating competition. GAO informed us that the Army also believed this planning work was outside the scope of the LOGCAP contract, but that [Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's office] overruled the Army and directed Army officials to issue the task order to Halliburton."

To see Waxman's full statement in pdf format, click here.

Last September, Vice President Cheney told NBC's Meet the Press that, "I have absolutely no influence of, involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form of contracts led by the [Army] Corps of Engineers or anybody else in the Federal Government." But the Pentagon email obtained by Judicial Watch and released by Time says that "we anticipate no issue" since action on the no-bid oil infrastructure contract "has been coordinated w VP's office." The email is posted at http://www.halliburtonwatch.org.

"The vice president falsely claimed he has 'no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind,' even though his own financial disclosure statements reveal that he continues to receive over $150,000 per year from the company," said HalliburtonWatch.org coordinator Jim Donahue. "The email and the other documents strongly suggest that Cheney played a key role in making his former company the number one war-profiteer. How many layers of deception have to be revealed before Congress will fully investigate?"

"The evidence suggests that Pentagon officials have worked with the Vice President's office to ensure Cheney's friends at Halliburton would make a killing off of the war," HalliburtonWatch.org collaborator Charlie Cray said.

For more information: http://www.halliburtonwatch.org