Mobbs acknowledged in a memo that the $1.9 million task order would uniquely position KBR to win the far larger sole-source contract to actually do the restoration work to Iraqi oil fields, GAO investigator William T. Woods said at a recent House oversight hearing.
Mobbs also described his intention to use KBR at an October 2002 meeting of the Deputies Committee, made up of senior officials from the White House and other agencies, including Cheney's top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Mobbs said he did so to ensure the officials had no objections to his plans to use KBR, according to Waxman's summary of the congressional briefing.
Mobbs declined several requests for an interview.
Libby declared after that meeting that he would not tell Cheney anything about the decision to use KBR and didn't, according to Cheney spokesman Kellems and another official who attended the meeting.
Kellems said Cheney has never been told about any decisions about contracts for Halliburton or other companies.
"Vice presidents don't do contracting," Kellems said. "Some Democrats have alleged that somehow the vice president has been responsible for securing contracts. That is a lie."
Cheney's sensitivity to the criticism flashed in a June 22 confrontation with Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), a leader in what the Democrats called "Halliburton Week," when Democrats made an effort to link Cheney to the company's activities in Iraq. When Leahy approached Cheney on the floor of the Senate, Cheney's response was immediate and rough: He cursed Leahy.
In a July hearing about Halliburton at the House Committee on Government Reform, Waxman described the company's efforts as a "boondoggle" at the expense of U.S. taxpayers. He repeatedly invoked Cheney's name, stopping shy of accusing him of any wrongdoing. Chairman Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) described Waxman's investigations of the company as a "witch hunt" for material to embarrass the vice president.