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Harris Faulkner Helps Out Halliburton. Is She On The Bush Administration Payroll? She Should Be.

Reported by Ellen - February 28, 2006

Harris Faulkner, the dull-as-dishwater newsreader who permeates Hannity & Colmes three times every hour, reported last night (2/27/06) on the Army’s decision to pay Halliburton more than $200 million of disputed charges in a fashion that could not have made Dick Cheney happier. Unfortunately for her credibility, she left out the most important facts of the story.

Faulkner reported: “The Army saying it’s resolved questions over the bill it received from a subsidiary of Halliburton. A $2.4 billion contract to deliver fuel to Iraqis and repair oil industry equipment was criticized because it was awarded to Kellogg Brown & Root without competitive bidding. The Army saying it’s given the matter a lengthy and detailed review and will pay all but nine of the $222 million in disputed costs.”

Faulkner made it sound as if the main problem with the contract was the no-bid process. In fact, that was only part of it. She neglected to tell the viewers that, as The New York Times reported yesterday (2/27/06), “the Pentagon's own auditors had identified more than $250 million in charges as potentially excessive or unjustified.”

Some other relevant information from The Times that Faulkner somehow overlooked on the “real journalism, fair and balanced” network:

The Army said in response to questions on Friday that questionable business practices by the subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, had in some cases driven up the company's costs. But in the haste and peril of war, it had largely done as well as could be expected, the Army said, and aside from a few penalties, the government was compelled to reimburse the company for its costs.

...Auditors began focusing on the fuel deliveries under the contract, finding that the fuel transportation costs that the company was charging the Army were in some cases nearly triple what others were charging to do the same job.”

… The Pentagon's Defense Contract Audit Agency had questioned $263 million in costs for fuel deliveries, pipeline repairs and other tasks that auditors said were potentially inflated or unsupported by documentation. That means the Army is withholding payment on just 3.8 percent of the charges questioned by the Pentagon audit agency, which is far below the rate at which the agency's recommendation is usually followed or sustained by the military — the so-called "sustention rate."

Figures provided by the Pentagon audit agency on thousands of military contracts over the past three years show how far the Halliburton decision lies outside the norm.

In 2003, the agency's figures show, the military withheld an average of 66.4 percent of what the auditors had recommended, while in 2004 the figure was 75.2 percent and in 2005 it was 56.4 percent.

This is hardly the first time Faulkner has made herself a mouthpiece for the Bush Administration but this is the first time I can recall her omitting the most relevant and the most damning part of a story. Is she just ignorant or deliberately shilling? I report, you decide.

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