Bunantine Greenhouse, a 60 year old black woman and the Pentagon's highest ranking civilian employee, has been demoted from her job as the chief
overseer of contracts for the Army Corps of Engineers after questioning large no-bid contracts awarded to Halliburton for work in Iraq. Greenhouse,
with twenty years of military procurement experience and high performance ratings prior to the war, was given a poor performance review and offered a
much lower civil works position, or early retirement. She is fighting the decision as whistleblower retaliation.
The Spoils of War
By MICHAEL SHNAYERSON
Halliburton subsidiary KBR got $12 billion worth of exclusive contracts for work in Iraq. But even more shocking is how KBR spent some of the money.
Former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official Bunnatine Greenhouse is blowing the whistle on the Dick Cheney–linked company's profits of war
This time, she was sure, they were going to get her.
Bunnatine Greenhouse had been a huge nuisance since the buildup to the war in Iraq—questioning contracts, writing caveats on them in her spidery
script, wanting to know why Halliburton and its subsidiary KBR (formerly known as Kellogg, Brown and Root) should be thrown billions of dollars of
government business while other companies, big and small, were shut out.
And Bunny Greenhouse wasn't that easy to ignore: she was the highest-ranking civilian at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Specifically, she
was the officer in charge of ensuring that any work contracted out by the Army Corps to private industry—from help in building bridges and dams and
highways to support for wartime troops—was granted in a fair and aboveboard way. For two years, Greenhouse had asked hard questions about why the
head of the Corps, to whom she reported directly, kept giving exclusive, non-compete contracts to KBR that now amounted to roughly $10.8 billion.
Greenhouse was fearless, and she was blunt. In the Corps's male hierarchy, it probably didn't help that she was a woman—or that she was black.
On October 6, 2004, Greenhouse was summoned by the Corps's deputy commander, Major General Robert Griffin. She knew that the top brass was eager to
finalize the Corps's latest contract for KBR, a $75 million extension for troop support in the Balkans. Already it had gone through several drafts,
mostly because Greenhouse kept questioning the rationale for giving it to KBR without competitive bidding. What she didn't know was that her superiors
had closed ranks against her.
When Greenhouse entered the general's office, he handed her a letter that explained she was being demoted for poor performance—a curious indictment,
given that she'd received high performance ratings before the war. The demotion would knock her down to the government rank of GS-15. That was like
going from senior vice president in a Fortune 500 company to middle management. She could retire instead with full benefits if she liked, the letter
went on to say. She was, after all, 60.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Michael Kohn, Greenhouse's lawyer, is calling the demotion an "obvious reprisal". It sure looks that way to me, too. This lady is just trying to do
her job, as she has for twenty years, reviewing contracts for viability and due process. When she saw the discrepancies with the Halliburton and KBR
contracts, she spoke out, doing her job. Now she is being censured for it. She is being scape-goated for pointing out that Halliburton and KBR are
receiving special treatment.
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