WASHINGTON (AP) - The senior civilian official who managed the
military's largest contract in Iraq says he was reassigned in 2004
when he refused to approve more than $1 billion in charges to KBR
-- until the Houston company provided credible spending records.
That's what The New York Times reports.
Army official Charles M. Smith tells the Times -- quote --
"They had a gigantic amount of costs they couldn't justify.
Ultimately, the money that was going to KBR was money being taken
away from the troops, and I wasn't going to do that."
Smith says he was reassigned and that most of the payments he
had questioned were later approved.
The Times reported that Army officials denied that Smith had
been replaced because of the dispute. They told the newspaper that
his decision to block the payments could have eroded basic services
The Times reports that the KBR contract with the Pentagon has
cost more than $20 billion so far.
Smith, a civilian employee of the Army for 31 years, told the
newspaper that he waited until after he had retired, in February,
to speak out.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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