December 12, 2003
Media Bias—Blatent

This headline (via Yahoo! News) caught my attention:

Halliburton May Have Overcharged Millions

And the first paragraph had a swipe at the former CEO:

A Pentagon audit has found Vice President Dick Cheney's former company may have overcharged the Army by $1.09 per gallon for nearly 57 million gallons of gasoline delivered to citizens in Iraq, senior defense officials say.

Since Cheney divested his Halliburton stock before taking office, something that occurred this year is not particularly relevant to his involvement in the company, unless you wear a tinfoil hat or are in the Democratic Party or its media adjunct.

The third paragraph contains the rest of the story:

But the company apparently didn't profit from the discrepancy, according to officials who briefed reporters Thursday on condition of anonymity. The problem, the officials said, was that Halliburton may have paid a Kuwaiti subcontractor too much for the gasoline in the first place.

A Halliburton statement released Thursday said the Kuwaiti company was the only one that met the Army Corps of Engineers' specifications. "Halliburton only makes a few cents on the dollar when fuel is delivered from Kuwait to Iraq," the statement read.

Hmmm. Kinda changes the whole tone of the story, doesn't it? There was also an alleged overcharge for some cafeteria functions, but the article does not provide any detail on that issue, focusing exclusively on the gas issue.

The rest of the article provides a brief history of Halliburton's government dealings, and provides some space to squawks from Democrats in congress who are latching on to Halliburton with the same vigor that they did with Enron, because Halliburton executives have donated significant sums to the GOP.

I suspect that this issue will soon blow over, another tempest in a teapot stirred by those looking for short-term political cover, rather than for any lasting impact, but it is interesting how such a trivial story found its way into the news in a real hurry.

posted on December 12, 2003 03:11 AM


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