On Monday, two former employees of embattled contracting firm KBR testified that they saw coworkers regularly steal from Iraq while working there. One employee, Linda Warren, said “that some of her American colleagues doing construction work in Iraqi palaces and municipal buildings took woodcarvings, tapestries and crystal ‘and even melted down gold to make spurs for cowboy boots.’”
Warren told the Senate panel that her camp manager got “busted by the military” for looting, but still, “she was given a promotion.” Watch it:
KBR continues to enjoy a most-favored contractor relationship with the Pentagon. In fact, just two weeks ago, KBR won a $150 billion, 10-year contract to work with the U.S. Army in Iraq — despite the other widely-publicized and serious scandals surrounding KBR:
– In March, the Boston Globe reported that KBR had avoided paying more than $500 million “in federal Medicare and Social Security taxes by hiring workers through shell companies” based in the Cayman Islands. These American workers thus cannot get unemployment assistance if they lose their jobs.
– Last month, the AP reported that KBR-run sites provided contaminated water that made dozens of U.S. troops in Iraq fall ill. Rather than reevaluate its chummy relationship with KBR, the Pentagon told soldiers to “just drink bottled water.”
– In December, the first of what is now at least a dozen former KBR employees came forward to say she was raped by coworkers while stationed in Iraq. The Pentagon has refused to investigate the issue.
Bunnatine “Bunny” Greenhouse, who oversaw contracts for the Army Corps of Engineers, told the Senate in 2005, “I can unequivocally state that the abuse related to contracts awarded to KBR represents the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career.” Reflecting the Pentagon’s efforts to protect KBR, Greenhouse was demoted almost two months to the day after voicing that critique.