A top Army contracting official who criticized a large, noncompetitive contract with the Halliburton Company for work in Iraq was demoted Saturday for what the Army called poor job performance.
The official, Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, has worked in military procurement for 20 years and for the past several years had been the chief overseer of contracts at the Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that has managed much of the reconstruction work in Iraq.
The demotion removes her from the elite Senior Executive Service and reassigns her to a lesser job in the corps' civil works division.
Ms. Greenhouse's lawyer, Michael Kohn, called the action an "obvious reprisal" for the strong objections she raised in 2003 to a series of corps decisions involving the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root, which has garnered more than $10 billion for work in Iraq.
Dick Cheney led Halliburton, which is based in Texas, before he became vice president.
"She is being demoted because of her strict adherence to procurement requirements and the Army's preference to sidestep them when it suits their needs," Mr. Kohn said Sunday in an interview. He also said the Army had violated a commitment to delay Ms. Greenhouse's dismissal until the completion of an inquiry by the Pentagon's inspector general.
Carol Sanders, spokeswoman for the Army Corps of Engineers, said Sunday that the personnel action against Ms. Greenhouse had been approved by the Department of the Army. And in a memorandum dated June 3, 2005, as the demotion was being arranged, the commander of the corps, Lt. Gen. Carl A. Strock, said the administrative record "clearly demonstrates that Ms. Greenhouse's removal from the S.E.S. is based on her performance and not in retaliation for any disclosures of alleged improprieties that she may have made."
Known as a stickler for the rules on competition, Ms. Greenhouse initially received stellar performance ratings, Mr. Kohn said. But her reviews became negative at roughly the time she began objecting to decisions she saw as improperly favoring Kellogg Brown & Root, he said. Often she hand-wrote her concerns on the contract documents, a practice that corps leaders called unprofessional and confusing.
Blatent targeting for criticizing the corruption of the Cheney Administration. There is no room for ethical government in Chimpy's world.
This should be a HUGE story because it goes hand-in-hand with the lies and gross negligence associated with the start of the war to the gross negligence and war profiteering of its prosecution.
Of course, it will likely not be. But oh lord, if this was the Clenis!