Halliburton’s former engineering and construction subsidiary has a contingency contract with the Department of Homeland Security to construct detention facilities in the event of a national emergency, according to WND columnist Jerome Corsi.
As Corsi reported last week, President Bush recently signed a little-reported National Security and Homeland Security Directive granting extraordinary powers to the president in the event of a declared national emergency, apparently without congressional approval or oversight.
Houston-based KBR was awarded an initial $385 million contract in January 2006 for one year, with four one-year options extended into 2007. KBR held a previous emergency detention contract with ICE from 2000 to 2005.
ICE spokeswoman Jamie Zuieback told Corsi the primary intent of the contract was to build temporary detention facilities that could be used in the event of a mass migration crisis, but she confirmed the facilities could be employed in national emergencies, including natural disasters.
“The idea of the KBR contract is to support the Army Corp of Engineers in case we experienced a sudden mass immigration and we had to respond quickly,” she said. “We would need immediate detention facilities in the form of temporary housing that would enable us to determine if the large numbers of illegal immigrants were political or economically motivated, or if they were criminals or terrorists.”
Corsi reported last week the May 9 directive signed by Bush concentrates an unprecedented amount of emergency authority in the office of the president, specifying the chief executive would have the authority to direct “National Essential Functions” of all federal state, local, territorial and tribal governments, as well as private sector organizations in the event of a national emergency.
The directive loosely defines “catastrophic emergency” as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy or government functions.”
The KBR contingency contract appears to give ICE the ability to have detention facilities constructed under the president’s direction in response to a national emergency as declared under the new directive.
ICE’s Zuieback said she was not familiar with the directive, and at her request, Corsi e-mailed her the link to the White House’s posting of the directive.
The White House has not responded to a request for comment on the story about the directive.