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Greenhouse seems to have got nothing but trouble for questioning the deal. Warned to stop interfering and threatened with a demotion, the career Corps employee decided to act on her conscience, according to her lawyer, Michael Kohn. Kohn, who has represented other federal whistle-blowers, last week sent a letter--obtained by TIME from congressional sources--on her behalf to the acting Secretary of the Army. In it Kohn recounts Greenhouse's Pentagon meeting and demands an investigation of alleged violations of Army regulations in the contract's awarding. (The Pentagon justified the contract procedures as necessary in a time of war, saying KBR was the only choice because of security clearances that it had received earlier.) Kohn charges that Greenhouse's superiors have tried to silence her; he says she has agreed to be interviewed, pending approval from her employer, but the Army failed to make her available despite repeated requests from TIME.
"These charges undercut months of assertions by Administration officials that the Halliburton contract was on the level," says Democratic Representative Henry Waxman. As the Corps's top contract specialist, the letter says, Greenhouse had noted reservations on dozens of procurement documents over seven years. But it was only after she took exception to the Halliburton deal that she was warned not to do so anymore. The letter states that the major general who admonished her, Robert Griffin, later admitted in a sworn statement that her comments on contracts had "caused trouble" for the Army and that, given the controversy surrounding the contract, it was "intolerable" and "had to stop." The letter says he threatened to downgrade her. (As with Greenhouse, the Army did not make Griffin available.)
When the Pentagon's auditors accused KBR of overcharging the government $61 million for fuel, the letter says, the Army bypassed Greenhouse. Her deputy waived a requirement that KBR provide pricing data--a move that looked "politically motivated," the letter says. The Pentagon maintains that it awarded Halliburton's Iraq contracts appropriately, as does a Halliburton spokeswoman. A senior military official says the Army "has referred the matter to the inspector general of the Department of Defense." As for Halliburton, it has faced alleged cost overruns, lost profits and seen at least 54 company contractors killed in Iraq. Greenhouse, meanwhile, has requested protection from retaliation. But her career--and reputation--are on the line.