Mountains, Molehills, Lies, and Distortions

When you seethis headline “Hallibaurton May Have Overcharged Millions,” and read the opening two sentences, “A Pentagon audit has found Vice President Dick Cheney’s former company may have overcharged the Army by $1.09 per gallon for nearly 57 million gallons of gasoline delivered to citizens in Iraq, senior defense officials say.

Auditors found potential overcharges of up to $61 million for gasoline that a Halliburton subsidiary delivered as part of its no-bid contract to help rebuild Iraq’s oil industry,” you might be tempted to think tricky Dick and Halliburton were up to something. The Associated Press is good at that.

But, for those who skim news stories, read this paragraph of the story:

But the company apparently didn’t profit from the discrepancy, according to officials who briefed reporters Thursday on condition of anonymity. The problem, the officials said, was that Halliburton may have paid a Kuwaiti subcontractor too much for the gasoline in the first place.

So, it wasn’t actually Halliburton that was milking the money out of the government, but a Kuwaiti subcontractor. The story goes on to say that Halliburton submitted a proposal to build a cafeteria that was $67million too much, but everyone seems to agree it was a “stupid mistake.” In any event, the Pentagon “rejected” the proposal.

Way to make a mountain out of a mole hill, AP. Maybe you should have covered the pro-America rallies in Baghdad instead.