Halliburton’s negligence and incompetence nearly lead to mass killings of US soldiers. Then they covered it up.
Halliburton Co. failed to protect the water supply it is paid to purify for U.S. soldiers throughout Iraq, in one instance missing contamination that could have caused “mass sickness or death,” an internal company report concluded.
The report, obtained by The Associated Press, said the company failed to assemble and use its own water purification equipment, allowing contaminated water directly from the Euphrates River to be used for washing and laundry at Camp Ar Ramadi in Ramadi, Iraq.
The problems discovered last year at that site – poor training, miscommunication and lax record keeping – occurred at Halliburton’s other operations throughout Iraq, the report said.
“Countrywide, all camps suffer to some extent from all or some of the deficiencies noted,” Wil Granger, Theatre Water Quality Manager in the war zone for Halliburton’s KBR subsidiary, wrote in his May 2005 report.
The contaminated, non-chlorinated water at Ar Ramadi was discovered in March 2005 in a commode by Ben Carter, a KBR water expert at the base. In an interview, Carter said he resigned after KBR barred him from notifying the military and senior company officials about the untreated water.
A supervisor at Ar Ramadi “told me to stop e-mailing” company officials outside the base and warned that informing the military “was none of my concern,” Carter said. He said he threatened to sue if company officials didn’t let him be examined to determine whether he suffered medical problems from exposure to the contaminated water.
“This event should be considered a ‘near miss’ as the consequences of these actions could have been very severe resulting in mass sickness or death,” Granger wrote.
The report said that KBR officials at Ar Ramadi tried to keep the contamination from senior company officials.
“The event that was submitted in a report to local camp management should have been classified as a recordable occurrence and communicated to senior management in a timely manner,” Granger wrote. “The primary awareness to this event came through threat of domestic litigation.”