WASHINGTON—Pentagon officials expressed outrage when an independent audit revealed Tuesday that defense contractor KBR Inc. had charged them up to five times more than market price for the service of torturing Iraqi citizens. "At a time when our government is facing budget cuts across the board, it is reprehensible that someone would charge $150,000 to grab an innocent civilian off the street, fly him to a prison in an undisclosed location, and deprive him of sleep while forcing him to maintain an excruciatingly painful stress position for 40 hours," said Douglas B. Wilson, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, adding that the service should have cost "$40,000, tops." "Sure, they got this particular individual to talk, but is that any reason to tack on $250 dollars per nipple-clamp used to electrocute him?" The Defense Department later confirmed it looked forward to continuing its work with KBR on projects throughout the region.
The narrowing line between satire and straight news reporting has finally been erased.