Pity the military commanders who dare to raise objections to sweetheart deals doled out to Dick Cheney's former employer, like the $165 million contract in question below that raised red flags.

Bunnatine Greenhouse, the Corps of Engineers' chief contracting officer, questioned a decision by commanders to award a contract extension to Halliburton, the oil services company run by Dick Cheney until he became vice president, without the competitive bidding designed to protect U.S. taxpayers.

The FBI is seeking to question Greenhouse, her lawyer said Thursday, marking an expansion of the bureau's ongoing investigation of other Halliburton contracts.

"I cannot approve this," Greenhouse wrote on one version of the proposal that is filled with her handwritten scrawls such as "Incorrect!"; "No! How!"; and "Not a valid reason."

Greenhouse, who was threatened with demotion after raising objections to the Halliburton contract, sent her complaints to acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee. Portions of her letter to Brownlee were obtained by Time magazine last week.

Even the ultra-partisan Ashcroft couldn't muzzle the FBI from investigating more criminal behavior on the part of cronies of Bush and Cheney.

Never underestimate, though, just how far the Bush camp will stoop: The IRS is reviewing the tax-exempt status of the NAACP because its chairman "condemned the administration policies of George W. Bush on education, the economy and the war in Iraq" in a July 11 speech.

Frances Hill, an authority on non-profit groups at the University of Miami Law School, called it "amazing" that the IRS would audit a group based on a public speech.

"Usually you would look for some activity other than disagreeing with policies," she said.


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