Halliburton’s subsidiary KBR (formerly Kellogg, Brown and Root) announced on January 24, 2006 that it had been awarded a $385 million contingency contract by the Department of Homeland Security to build detention camps in the United States.
According to a press release posted on the Halliburton website, “The contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs. The contingency support contract provides for planning and, if required, initiation of specific engineering, construction and logistics support tasks to establish, operate and maintain one or more expansion facilities.”
What little coverage the announcement received focused on concerns about Halliburton’s reputation for overcharging U.S. taxpayers for substandard services.
Less attention was focused on the phrase “rapid development of new programs” or what type of programs might require a major expansion of detention centers, capable of holding 5,000 people each. Jamie Zuieback, spokeswoman for ICE, declined to elaborate on what these “new programs” might be.
Only a few independent journalists, such as Peter Dale Scott, Maureen Farrell, and Nat Parry have explored what the Bush administration might actually have in mind.