Wednesday, June 18, 2008

KBR Incompetence = More Government Contracts

Just how is that government contractor KBR still gains hundreds of millions in tax dollars?

Most recently, auditors found "shoddy" and "substandard work" from KBR in responding to the needs of U.S. hurricane victims:

"Efforts by defense contractor KBR to repair hurricane-damaged Navy facilities were deemed shoddy and substandard, and one technical adviser alleged that the federal government "certainly paid twice" for many KBR projects because of "design and workmanship deficiencies," the Pentagon's inspector general reported in an audit released yesterday."
"The inspector general reported that its audit of KBR's work found:

· The Navy entered into an illegal "cost-plus-percentage-of-cost" contract with the company. Higher costs meant more profit for KBR, which rewarded the company for "inefficiency and non-economical performance," the report said.

· KBR paid $4.1 million for services and meals that should have cost $1.7 million, and it awarded sole-source or limited-competition subcontracts that overpaid hourly rates to roofers.

· The company was paid nearly all contract amounts despite "marginal-to-average performance."

The inspector general recommended that the Navy try to recoup about $8.4 million in "excessive" equipment lease payments and material profits, and another $1.4 million for more than 110,000 meals that were paid for and thrown away over a 34-day period.

The audit report noted several unusual costs, including monthly employee cellphone charges of $540 during roof repairs, $720 per month in gas charges -- even as the Navy was already paying for work-site fuel expenses -- and expensive meals, including steak and eggs (full meal prices were redacted from the report)."

NOTE: Southern Beale has more on this bizarre tale.

And even worse, far worse as I see it: Their lousy work just to provide shower facilities for U.S. troops in Iraq have led to multiple deaths of our troops:

"Potentially lethal electrical wiring problems on U.S. bases in Iraq have been known to military officials since October 2004. That’s when an official Army bulletin went out, citing the deaths by electrocution of two soldiers due to poorly grounded wiring.

Since then, several more soldiers and Marines have been killed by faulty wiring and many more injured. The latest confirmed death was Jan. 2 in Iraq, when a Green Beret died taking a shower after a badly grounded water pump short-circuited.

The blame for these deaths rests squarely on KBR, the American defense contractor responsible for base maintenance in Iraq and Afghanistan. There’s evidence that KBR was fully aware of the problems, did little to address them, fired at least one whistle-blower and may even have fabricated paperwork to make it look like proper wiring repairs had been performed when they hadn’t..
One former KBR electrician said the company’s standard excuse for the shoddy electrical work was, “This is a war zone. What do you expect?”

How much more worse will KBR have to perform before every contract they have with American taxpayers gets taken away?


  1. I blogged about this story today too. I love how the civillian oversight guy was fired for ... doing oversight! Zing! And still conservatives tell us that the private sector is so much more efficient/better/cheaper than the government. Another treasured piece of conservative wisdom down the toilet!

  2. thanks for the heads up, SoBeale. I've added a link to your post.