WASHINGTON - Halliburton's contracts in Iraq have skyrocketed to $2-billion, prompting new calls from lawmakers to investigate the propriety of the deals.
Halliburton, formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney, began work in Iraq with a $37.5-million no-bid contract in February to put out oil fires. That deal, expanded to include pumping oil, is now worth about $948-million, according to Halliburton figures provided to the New York Daily News.
But the oil contract alone, awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root, is worth up to $7-billion, the military said.
"That the (oil) contracting was done behind closed doors that circumvents traditional bidding procedures just stinks to high heaven," said Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
Besides the oil deal, a second set of Halliburton contracts awarded by the Army's Field Support Command is worth about $1.2-billion, Army spokesman Dan Carlson said.U.S. forces detain aide to Hussein adviser
MOSUL, Iraq - U.S. forces have detained an aide to one of Saddam Hussein's most trusted advisers who is high on America's most-wanted list of Iraqis, a U.S. commander in northern Iraq said Thursday. The U.S. military also issued a televised plea for the former Iraqi defense minister to surrender.
Col. Joe Anderson, commander of 2nd brigade of 101st Airborne Division, which controls much of northern Iraq, said coalition forces several days ago detained a secretary for the vice chairman of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri.
Al-Douri is No. 6 on the most-wanted list of 55 regime officials. His daughter was married to Hussein's son Uday.
"We know these steps bring us closer to the capture of al-Douri," Anderson said on the U.S.-run Ninevah television station. "We still suspect al-Douri of supporting attacks against coalition forces."
U.S. officials did not release the secretary's name.France says it will help Germany train police
BERLIN - France signaled Thursday it would help Germany train a new Iraqi police force as both nations renewed their pressure for quickly handing over the country's government to the Iraqis.
French President Jacques Chirac, speaking after talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, emphasized he would like to see the transfer of power in postwar Iraq as soon as possible - "in a matter of months, not years."
In Iraq Thursday five Iraqi leaders agreed on a sweeping security plan calling for most U.S. troops to withdraw to their bases and turn over day-to-day police functions to Iraqi militia forces working under the new Ministry of Interior.
A Kurdish leader, Massoud Barzani, said U.S. forces were making serious mistakes by trying to become a "front line" occupation force. The proposal will be presented to U.S. officials in the next few days.