KBR's faulty wiring blamed for deaths of at least 16 soldiers in Iraq
A congressional report released yesterday blames faulty electrical work by contractor KBR for the deaths of at least 16 American troops in Iraq:
The denials leave an accountability problem that may ultimately lead to the Pentagon officials in charge of overseeing KBR.
"Who is to blame for this?" Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), the ranking Republican on the committee, asked Bruni. "Was it the army? Was it the soldier responsible for taking the shower?"
"The responsibility lies with the army," Bruni said after initially dodging the question.
The army, meanwhile, remains uncertain how many soldiers have actually been electrocuted.
Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the multinational force in Iraq, said last month that 13 soldiers had been electrocuted. Last week the Pentagon said the number was 16. Now the oversight committee says it has documents indicating 19 deaths.
At the hearing, Jeffrey Parsons, executive director of the Army Contracting Command, said that the Pentagon is still in the process of investigating the electrocutions. Parsons also noted that Pentagon auditors lack "sufficient skill sets or expertise to perform adequate oversight of electrical work being performed by KBR." [Washington Independent]
KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton until last year, recently won yet another contract for Iraq reconstruction.