On December 4, 2012 the U.S. Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. Included in the NDAA is an amendment written by Wyden which requires the Pentagon to disclose and justify to Congress any contracts that contain indemnification clauses that hold military contractors harmless of acts of negligence.
Last month, a jury ordered defense contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to pay $85 million in damages to troops negligently exposed to toxic levels of sodium dichromate in Iraq. Under a previously-classified indemnity clause in their contract KBR was allowed to sue the Federal government to recoup those damages and pay their court costs. Wyden’s amendment ensures that Congress is not left in the dark about clauses that leave the taxpayer holding the bill for a contractor’s wrongdoing.
“What KBR received -- and Oregon soldiers and the American taxpayers may be stuck paying for -- is a get out of jail free card that no one outside of the Pentagon had any say in giving them,” Wyden said.