The Halliburton Agenda: The Politics of Oil and Money

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9780471638605: The Halliburton Agenda: The Politics of Oil and Money

The author of the bestseller The Iron Triangle untangles a web of political back scratching in one of the world's most powerful companies
Halliburton-a Texas oil-field company Dick Cheney ran before he became Vice President-has courted controversy for the better part of the twentieth century, but only recently has it received intense media scrutiny. In The Halliburton Agenda, Halliburton and its subsidiaries form the foundation of a fascinating story of influence peddling and behind-the-scenes political maneuvering that has only increased in momentum over the last decade-culminating in a firestorm of problems arising as soon as Cheney took office.
This intriguing book shows readers where Halliburton has been doing business and with whom-topping the list so far are Iran, Iraq, and Libya. It also reveals how this juggernaut of a corporation has engaged in a cycle of profits that begins by selling products and services to potential terrorist states, contracting with the federal government during times of war against those states, then gaining valuable rebuilding contracts to help repair those states. It will also show how a Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, has become an indispensable part of the U.S. military, so much so that the two are indistinguishable at times.
Halliburton is one of the first American companies to recognize the importance of aligning itself with powerful politicians, heavily contributing to campaigns, then cashing in on lucrative government contracts. Engaging and informative, The Halliburton Agenda carefully explores the arc of the company's success, its use of political affiliation, and the scope of its international business.

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Review:

Despite their shared preference for keeping a low profile, Vice President Dick Cheney and Halliburton, his former employer, gained notoriety in the aftermath of the war in Iraq thanks to a series of lucrative government contracts awarded to Halliburton, for which they never had to bid. Business journalist Dan Briody sheds light on the history of the company and demonstrates how its present-day relationship with influential politicians is not anomalous but part of a time-honored yet ethically suspect tradition of doing business. Briody introduces Erle Halliburton, who was born into poverty but found great financial success with innovative oil well technology. And while Halliburton avoided getting close to elected officials or pursuing government contracts, the Brown brothers of Texas-based Brown & Root made the nurturing of "pet politicians" a top priority as they grew their construction business into one of the most powerful in the nation. The Halliburton Agenda details the mutually beneficial relationship the Browns shared with an up and coming Lyndon Johnson as money and influence flowed freely between the two. Halliburton acquired Brown & Root in 1962 and with it, Briody contends, plenty of questionable business practices that continue to this day. Dick Cheney looms ominously on the book's cover but he doesn't appear much in the book until fairly late in the Halliburton story. Still, because Cheney's early-1990s' appointment to the job of CEO (after no private sector experience) and departure to be Vice President in 2000 coincided with an upsurge in Halliburton revenues and controversies, there's plenty of material to examine. While many have questioned what sway corporations have in the George W. Bush administration, Briody's extended look at Halliburton's corporate culture and history provides enlightening perspective. --John Moe

From the Inside Flap:

During the 2000 vice presidential debate, when Dick Cheney was asked about his financial success as Halliburton’s CEO, he responded that the government had played no role in it. But even Cheney himself couldn’t really believe that. Halliburton has taken the idea of the military-industrial complex to a level never before seen. And in its seemingly unstoppable march to becoming the vendor of choice for the United States military, Halliburton continues to court controversy.

In The Halliburton Agenda, Halliburton and its subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, form the foundation of an intriguing story of cronyism and conflict of interest that has only increased in momentum over the last decade.

Award-winning journalist and bestselling author Dan Briody cuts through the veil of secrecy that cloaks this controversial company, and reveals how the confluence of business and politics has led to questionable deals as well as financial windfalls for Halliburton, its executives, and its subsidiaries.

The Halliburton Agenda digs deep to expose:

  • A pattern of cost overages by the company dating as far back as World War II and extending forward through Vietnam, Somalia, and Bosnia
  • How Halliburton has been doing business with terrorist states such as Libya and Iran for decades–and why the company continues to do so
  • The questionable legality of the U.S. government’s contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root, including LOGCAP–the government’s contract to provide logistical support to the Army–and the contract for the work in rebuilding Iraq’s oil infrastructure
  • Why the company paid a $2.4 million bribe to a Nigerian tax official, acquired $4.4 billion of asbestos liability, and changed its accounting procedures without notifying its shareholders–an action that has led to an ongoing SEC investigation
  • The current allegations against Halliburton for overcharging the U.S. government for gas in Iraq

Halliburton’s inextricable links to politicians and the United States military, its dealings with countries known to sponsor terrorism, and its controversial $2 billion government contract to rebuild Iraq are only the tip of the iceberg. The Halliburton Agenda untangles a complex web of political power plays and deceptive deals–revealing how a company with the right connections can finesse its way to success.

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