Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) said today that “Military contractor KBR Inc. was paid $83.4 million in bonuses for electrical work in Iraq — much of it after the U.S. military’s contract management agency recognized the contractor was doing shoddy electrical work,” the AP reports.
Sen. Byron Dorgan, a Democrat, said he learned of the bonuses from Pentagon documents. Dorgan chairs the Democrats’ Policy Committee, which examined at a hearing the electrocution deaths of U.S. troops in Iraq.
At least three troops have been electrocuted while showering in Iraq, and others have been injured and killed in other electrical incidents. KBR, which has the responsibility of maintaining electrical work in tens of thousands of U.S. facilities in Iraq, has denied any responsibility in the deaths.
But Dorgan said evidence suggests KBR’s work was involved in some of the deaths. He said $34 million in bonuses was paid three months after Green Beret Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, was electrocuted while showering in his barracks in Iraq on Jan. 2, 2008. Maseth’s family has sued KBR, alleging wrongful death.
"How could it be that, given these obviously widespread problems with KBR’s electrical work, the Pentagon decided to give KBR bonuses totaling $83.4 million for such work?" Dorgan said.
In a letter sent Tuesday to Mr. Dorgan, “Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn said KBR has not received any such bonuses for work performed after Jan. 1, 2008, and no additional such awards will be given until a comprehensive review is conducted.”