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Editor s Note | The letter Rep. Waxman wrote challenging 0aHalliburton s actions in Iran, Iraq and Libya can 0abe read in full here. (Adobe Acrobat required)
Oil Firm's Work for Terrorist Sponsors Challenged
David 0aR. Baker
San Francisco Chronicle
Thursday 1 May 2003
Giving contracts to Halliburton questioned
Oil giant Halliburton's work in countries considered sponsors of 0aterrorism came under fire Wednesday from California Rep. Henry Waxman, who 0aquestioned whether the company should receive lucrative government contracts.
In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Waxman said 0aHalliburton Co. subsidiaries and joint ventures had done business in Iran, Iraq 0aand Libya, in spite of U.S. sanctions against those countries.
"It appears that a company that has performed -- and apparently is 0acontinuing to perform -- work for state sponsors of terrorism is being given a 0aprominent role in the administration's war on terrorism," Waxman wrote.
Waxman's letter did not directly accuse Halliburton of breaking the 0alaw. Instead, Waxman, D-Los Angeles, asked Rumsfeld whether the White House had 0aexamined the legality of Halliburton's work in Iraq, Iran and Libya. He also 0aasked whether the administration plans to do so before awarding Halliburton more 0acontracts.
Halliburton won a prominent role this spring in American efforts to 0arebuild Iraq when the Pentagon hired one of its subsidiaries to put out oil well 0afires set during the war. The company now will compete with other firms, 0apossibly including San Francisco's Bechtel Corp., to repair Iraq's dilapidated 0aoil facilities.
A Halliburton spokeswoman said Wednesday that her company had done no 0aprewar business in Iraq since pulling out of two joint ventures in 1999. 0aOverseas subsidiaries of the Texas company work in Iran and Libya, she said.
"The company believes that the operations of its subsidiaries are in 0acompliance with U.S. laws," spokeswoman Wendy Hall said. "These activities and 0aentities are staffed and managed by non-U.S. personnel. We do not always agree 0awith policies or actions of governments in every place that we do business and 0amake no excuses for their behaviors."
A Defense Department spokesman said Wednesday that he did not know 0awhether Rumsfeld, still traveling in the Middle East, had yet seen Waxman's 0aletter.
Waxman has targeted Halliburton before. Last month, he asked the 0aGeneral Accounting Office to investigate whether the company, once run by Vice 0aPresident Dick Cheney, received favorable treatment in winning government 0acontracts.
Halliburton's work in Iraq came through two joint ventures that sold 0aequipment to the country's oil industry. Although much trade with Iraq was 0abanned after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the United Nations oil-for-food program 0aallowed the sale of spare parts to keep Iraq's oil fields operating. Halliburton 0asold off its share in the joint ventures in 1999.
One of Halliburton's overseas subsidiaries opened an office in Iran's 0acapital, Tehran, in 2000 and has worked on two offshore Iranian drilling 0acontracts, according to Waxman's letter. In Libya, another Halliburton 0asubsidiary worked on a large-scale, underground water pipeline project, Waxman 0awrote.
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