Charles Smith ousted for doing his job overseeing KBR

In the 6/17/08 story, “ Army Overseer Tells of Ouster Over KBR Stir,” the NYT’s James Risen, in another piece of enterprise journalism (he is one of the authors who broke the NSA story) tells of how Charles M. Smith, the senior civilian overseeing the Army’s multibillion-dollar KBR contract during the first two years of the war says he was forced from his job in 2004. He had informed the company’s officials that the Army would impose escalating financial penalties if they failed to provide documentation of more than one billion dollars in expenses being billed without proper substantiation.

They had a gigantic amount of costs they couldn’t justify…Ultimately, the money that was going to KBR was money being taken away from the troops, and I wasn’t going to do that.

Risen says the Army won’t acknowledge the reason for Smith’s replacement, only that it reversed Smith’s actions. The reasoning? According to Risen:

KBR had warned that if it was not paid, it would reduce payments to subcontractors, which in turn would cut back on services.

Looks like Mr. Bush is not the only bully who gets his way. And the reward? Part of a new 10-year, $150 billion contract in Iraq.

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