In the "Duh, tell me something I don't know now" category:
The Halliburton subsidiary that provides food, shelter and other logistics to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan exploited federal regulations to hide details on its contract performance, according to a report released Friday.
The special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction found that Halliburton's Kellogg, Brown & Root Services routinely marked all information it gave to the government as proprietary, whether it was or not. The government promises not to disclose proprietary data so a company's most valuable information is not divulged to its competitors.
By marking all information proprietary - including such normally releasable data as labor rates - the company abused federal regulations, the report says.
In effect, Kellogg, Brown & Root turned the regulations "into a mechanism to prevent the government from releasing normally transparent information, thus potentially hindering competition and oversight." Read on...
Questions about the transparency of data KBR provides the government were raised in July, after (Stuart) Bowen (the special inspector-general for Iraq reconstruction) announced his office would investigate whether services the US government was receiving under one KBR contract were "reasonable, efficient, and cost-effective".
In his probe of a KBR contract that provides support to the US embassy in Iraq - a contract that falls under the larger Logcap contract - Mr Bowen found that the company wrongly shielded from public consumption data including: daily dining facility headcount; and the number of litres of fuel issued to generators maintained by foreign embassies in Iraq.
The company also initially refused to provide Mr Bowen, a former attorney for President George W. Bush who has emerged as a tough critic of the reconstruction effort, with cost data in a format that was acceptable to his office. Read on...