Defense contractor allegedly ignored safety warnings in Iraq

| 9/4/2007

Documents unearthed by the Los Angeles Times show that defense contractor KBR allegedly ignored the advice of its own safety advisers in April 2004, before ordering civilian truck drivers through a five-mile combat zone in Iraq to deliver jet fuel.

At least six civilian drivers and two U.S. soldiers died during the run.

The Times reviewed documents that showed that on April 8, 2004, a day before the attacks on the convoy, KBR’s security advisers told company managers to suspend convoys in the region. One driver had already died and at least 70 more had been attacked that day alone.

But KBR’s top official in Iraq responded to the advisers by saying the company couldn’t stop the convoys, and that only the military could do that.

Of the 19 KBR trucks that went out the next day, only six reached their intended destination.

The documents have come to light as part of a lawsuit filed by the families of the victims. Though the lawsuit was dismissed last year, the families have filed an appeal.