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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Halliburton's Contracts Bigger Than Thought

WASHINGTON -- Halliburton, the company formerly headed by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, has won contracts worth more than $1.7 billion under Operation Iraqi Freedom and stands to make hundreds of millions more dollars under a no-bid contract awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to newly available documents.

The size and scope of the government contracts awarded to Halliburton in connection with the war in Iraq are significantly greater than was previously disclosed. Independent experts estimate that as much as one-third of the monthly $3.9 billion cost of keeping U.S. troops in Iraq is going to independent contractors.

Services performed by Halliburton through its Brown and Root subsidiary include building and managing military bases, logistical support for the 1,200 intelligence officers hunting Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, delivering mail and producing millions of hot meals.

Spreadsheets from the Army Joint Munitions Command show that about $1 billion was allocated to Brown and Root Services through mid-August for contracts associated with Operation Iraqi Freedom. The company also earned about $705 million for an initial round of oil field rehabilitation work for the Army Corps of Engineers, a spokesman said.

According to U.S. Representative Henry Waxman and other critics, the Iraq war and occupation have provided a handful of companies with good political connections, particularly Halliburton, with unprecedented money-making opportunities. "The amount of money [earned by Halliburton] is quite staggering, far more than we were originally led to believe," Waxman said. "This is clearly a trend under this administration, and it concerns me because often the privatization of government services ends up costing the taxpayers more money rather than less."

Waxman's interest in Halliburton was ignited by a routine Army Corps of Engineers announcement in March reporting that the company had been awarded a no-bid contract, with a $7 billion limit, for putting out fires at Iraqi oil wells.

Waxman aides said they have been told by the General Accounting Office that Brown and Root is likely to earn "several hundred million more dollars" from the no-bid contract. After unfavorable publicity, the corps said the sole award to Brown and Root would be replaced by a competitively bid contract. But the deadline for announcing the results of the competition has slipped from August to October, causing rival companies to complain that little work will be left for anybody else.

The practice of delegating a vast array of logistics operations to a single contractor dates to the aftermath of the 1991 Persian Gulf War and a study commissioned by Cheney, then defense secretary, on military outsourcing. The Pentagon chose Brown and Root to carry out the study and selected it to implement its own plan. Cheney served as chief executive of Brown and Root's parent company, Halliburton, from 1995 to 2000.