Oct 302004

Yesterday, it was reported that the FBI has launched an investigation into whether the Pentagon improperly awarded a multi-billion dollar no-bid contract to Halliburton. Bunnatine Greenhouse, the Corps of Engineers’ chief contracting officer, "was threatened with demotion after raising objections" to extending the Halliburton contract. The contract was extended despite her objection, but "the final approval did not carry Greenhouse’s signature, as normally required by contracting regulations. Instead, it was signed by her assistant, Lt. Col. Norbert Doyle."

WHAT WAS CHENEY’S ROLE?: It has been previously reported that ? according to an Army Corps of Engineers official ? the decision to award the contract "had been ‘coordinated’ with the office of Vice President Cheney, Halliburton’s former chief executive." Lewis "Scooter" Libby ? Cheney’s chief of staff ? "was briefed in October 2002 about the proposal to issue the November 11 task order [contract] to Halliburton." Pentagon officials also acknowledge that Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith discussed a March 2003 Halliburton contract in advance with Cheney’s office. (Here was their best explanation: Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita "described the use of the word "coordinate" in the e-mail as a "catch-all phrase" that signified "it’s time for this contract to be executed.") Vice President Cheney refuses to substantively respond to questions about his involvement in Halliburton contracts.

The only thing surprising me is that the investigation has been started while Bush is still in office. I’m sure someone is in deep do-do over at Justice.

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