Senators Question Oversight Of Contracts In Iraq

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - A key Senate Democrat is accusing the Bush
administration and the Pentagon of wasting billions of taxpayer
dollars by failing to properly plan for troop support in Iraq.
And Robert Byrd says that's also led to theft and fraud.
Byrd, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, says the
military is dependent on profit-oriented companies for even the
day-to-day basics of feeding and housing troops. He says that opens
the door for every manager "to game the system in order to
maximize profits."
Among the Pentagon's contracts is a multibillion-dollar, 10-year
deal with Kellogg, Brown & Root. Lawmakers cite several examples of
what they say is contract abuse by KBR, including billing the
government for millions of meals never delivered, overstating labor
costs and wasting millions of dollars to purchase unnecessary
vehicles.
A KBR spokeswoman says services provided in Iraq have allowed
"troops to focus on their combat mission."
A Pentagon contracting official says the contract is being
realigned to improve accountability.


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