Oversight panel leader slams new KBR contract

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., sent a blistering letter Wednesday to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, objecting to the award of another $2.8 billion contract to KBR Inc. for support services in Iraq.

KBR has been in the committee's cross hairs for two years, following revelations that the company's flawed electrical work in showers at military installations may have played a role in the deaths of 18 service members. KBR denies the allegations.

Towns said in a news release Wednesday that the Pentagon awarded a $2.8 billion contract to KBR Friday, "a day after the company told shareholders it lost about $25 million in award fees because of flawed electrical work in Iraq."

Towns asked Gates to provide his panel with documents relating to the contract by March 17.

"When multiple deaths of U.S. service men and women are not enough to preclude the award of a new contract, it makes me wonder what it takes for a contractor to be fired," Towns told Gates.

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