Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Hm. Halliburton. Homeland Security. Prison Camps.

From the Saturday New York Times, via BoingBoing. Props to Miss Cellania for catching this...
Halliburton Subsidiary Gets Contract to Add Temporary Immigration Detention Centers

Published: February 4, 2006
WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 — The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract worth up to $385 million for building temporary immigration detention centers to Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary that has been criticized for overcharging the Pentagon for its work in Iraq.

KBR would build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space, company executives said. KBR, which announced the contract last month, had a similar contract with immigration agencies from 2000 to last year.

The contract with the Corps of Engineers runs one year, with four optional one-year extensions. Officials of the corps said that they had solicited bids and that KBR was the lone responder.
OK, as BoingBoing, points out, this should send a shiver down anyone's spine. After all, it's Halliburton, which reported a record net profit of $2.4 billion dollars last year and Dick Cheney's old company.

There is something to be said for the fact that a) these facilities have been contracted for since the Clinton administration (at least), and b) Halliburton was the sole bidder. All that noted, however...
Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, who has monitored the company, called the contract worrisome.

"With Halliburton's ever expanding track record of overcharging, it's hard to believe that the administration has decided to entrust Halliburton with even more taxpayer dollars," Mr. Waxman said. "With each new contract, the need for real oversight grows."
Me? I just have one question: Is the fact that Halliburton was the sole bidder a function of the inability of anyone else to do this work, or is there something else afoot?

You know what I'm thinking: Maybe it's time Waxman asked that question.

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