Halliburton strikes back on Iraq

Halliburton and senior company executives of its KBR unit have lashed out at critics of its performance in Iraq during a hearing of the House Committee on Government Reform on Capitol Hill.
Halliburton strikes back on Iraq Halliburton strikes back on Iraq Halliburton strikes back on Iraq Halliburton strikes back on Iraq Halliburton strikes back on Iraq

The oil services giant has been criticised for its handling of more than US$8 billion in Pentagon contracts and has been accused of wasteful practices and for overcharging for its services.

Speaking during the hearing, Alfred V. Neffgen, KBR COO Government Operations, said, “Never has any contractor worked in as difficult and dangerous a situation as we do in Iraq. Forty-two employees of the company, or [our] prime subcontractors, [have] been killed.”

“We have performed and performed well for our soldiers and for our country, but where we have identified mistakes, we have quickly moved to fix them,” he added.

Neffgen also lashed at three former KBR employees – James Warren, Dennis Wilson and Marie E. deYoung – who had accused the company of “waste and sloppiness” and who said, in the case of deYoung, “the Halliburton corporate culture is one of intimidation and fear” in an earlier testimony.

Warren and Wilson, who had driven KBR trucks, accused the firm of allowing US$85,000 trucks to be abandoned in Iraq because of faulty maintenance, the lack of spare parts like a spare tyre, and company orders.

“These former employees are mistaken and misinformed. Truck schedules and decisions to abandon trucks on the road were the responsibility of military escorts, not the company [and] Ms. de Young was unaware of strenuous efforts to control costs [within the company],” said Neffgen.