Halliburton "Can Take" Criticism, But Prefers Not to

Monday, January 23, 2006

Halliburton "Can Take" Criticism, But Prefers Not to

Two years ago, Halliburton responded to criticism about the handling of its military contracts in Iraq with a 30-second television ad in which CEO David J. Lesar declared:
You’ve heard a lot about Halliburton lately.

Criticism is OK. We can take it. Criticism is not failure.

Our employees are doing a great job ....
But as much as Halliburton claims it can take criticism, it appears that the company may have been trying to avoid criticism by withholding news that U.S. troops were exposed to contaminated water. According to the Associated Press:
Troops and civilians at a U.S. military base in Iraq were exposed to contaminated water last year and employees for the responsible contractor, Halliburton, couldn't get their company to inform camp residents, according to interviews and internal company documents.

Halliburton, the company formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, disputes the allegations about water problems at Camp Junction City, in Ramadi, even though they were made by its own employees and documented in company e-mails.

"We exposed a base camp population (military and civilian) to a water source that was not treated," said a July 15, 2005, memo written by William Granger, the official for Halliburton's KBR subsidiary who was in charge of water quality in Iraq and Kuwait.

"The level of contamination was roughly 2x the normal contamination of untreated water from the Euphrates River," Granger wrote in one of several documents.
So unless Halliburton can come forward with a very good explanation of what happened here, it appears that the words in this letter by CEO David Lesar don't mean very much:
Compliance with the law and honesty and integrity in our dealings with others are not to be sacrificed in the name of profits.

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