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Audit: KBR must trim Iraq work force or face fines

WASHINGTON (AP) - Pentagon auditors have told the Army's primary support contractor in Iraq to cut its work force there or face nearly $200 million in penalties.

The Houston-based KBR Inc. is responsible for everything from mail and laundry to housing and meals under a $33.8 billion, 10-year deal signed in 2001.

Auditors say the company has increased employee levels while U.S. troops steadily leave the country forcing the U.S. government to pay far more in labor costs in Iraq than it should.

The Oct. 26 audit was obtained by The Associated Press.

Defense auditors have challenged billions of dollars in charges. And KBR's critics, many of them Democrats on Capitol Hill, have accused the company of gouging the government during a time of war.

KBR's responses disagree with many of the audit's conclusions.

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