[JURIST] Halliburton [JURIST news archive] subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. (KBR) has been violating a US Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) [official website] direction on classifying proprietary data by claiming protection for information normally in the public sphere, according to a report [text, PDF] issued Friday by Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen Jr. [official website]. Bowen wrote:
The routine use of proprietary markings when the data marked is not internal contractor information . . . is an abuse of FAR procedures . . . The result is that information normally releasable to the public must be protected from public release just because the information gathered . . ., pursuant to KBR’s contractual obligations, was marked as proprietary. In effect, KBR has turned FAR provisions designed to protect truly proprietary information and to enhance procurement competition . . . into a mechanism to prevent the government from releasing normally transparent information, thus potentially hindering competition and oversight.
The report went on to disclose specific types of information being marked as proprietary in violation of FAR, including daily dining hall headcounts and reports on fuel issued by KBR to foreign embassies. Reuters has more.
KBR has a contract with the US military called LOGCAP [official website] to provide exclusive logistics support during Iraq reconstruction. After the report was issued, Army officials said they would modify LOGCAP to provide better guidance to KBR on the marking of information as "proprietary." In August, a KBR subcontractor settled Iraq fraud allegations [JURIST article] with the US government for $4 million.