Sunday, August 26, 2007

Whistleblowers on Fraud Facing Penalties

From Forbes courtesy of Crooks and Liars:

Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse knows this only too well. As the highest-ranking civilian contracting officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, she testified before a congressional committee in 2005 that she found widespread fraud in multibillion-dollar rebuilding contracts awarded to former Halliburton subsidiary KBR.

Soon after, Greenhouse was demoted. She now sits in a tiny cubicle in a different department with very little to do and no decision-making authority, at the end of an otherwise exemplary 20-year career.

People she has known for years no longer speak to her.

"It's just amazing how we say we want to remove fraud from our government, then we gag people who are just trying to stand up and do the right thing," she says.

In her demotion, her supervisors said she was performing poorly. "They just wanted to get rid of me," she says softly. The Army Corps of Engineers denies her claims.


Julie McBride testified last year that as a "morale, welfare and recreation coordinator" at Camp Fallujah, she saw KBR exaggerate costs by double- and triple-counting the number of soldiers who used recreational facilities.

She also said the company took supplies destined for a Super Bowl party for U.S. troops and instead used them to stage a celebration for themselves.

"After I voiced my concerns about what I believed to be accounting fraud, Halliburton placed me under guard and kept me in seclusion," she told the committee. "My property was searched, and I was specifically told that I was not allowed to speak to any member of the U.S. military. I remained under guard until I was flown out of the country."

Halliburton and KBR denied her testimony.

Click here for the rest.

Outrageous but totally unsurprising. And these two above excerpted tales are relatively easy going: the article relates the story of another whistleblower who was thrown into a military prison for 97 days and given the Guantanamo treatment. All of this comes down from the White House, for sure, which is why it's so unsurprising. This is not to say that everytime a whistleblower in Iraq gets fucked over that it was ordered by Bush or a senior staffer, but this has been their attitude about inconvenient truths for years. Such attitudes have clearly filtered down the chain of command; it's just how the feds do business now. We've all heard the stories about NASA scientists given gag orders on global warming, and the same thing with all kinds of information developed by federal sources that is perceived by the White House as running counter to their agenda.

And Bush is the guy who promised back in 2000 to restore integrity to the Oval Office. For some reason, that's not even funny anymore.