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View Diary: Ex-NSA Chief Michael Hayden is SO mad at Snowden... (167 comments)

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  •  National Security on the 'buddy system' (15+ / 0-)

    The cronyism began when Hayden chose the dysfunctional Trailblazer program over  Binney's working and Fourth-Amendment compliant ThinThread --

    corporations—and their moles inside the NSA—ran Trailblazer from the start. The fix began in 2000, when Hayden hired Bill Black, a wily NSAer who had worked at the highest levels of SIGINT in Europe as Hayden’s deputy. For the previous three years, from 1997 to 2000, he’d been working for SAIC, then a rising San Diego defense contractor with extensive contacts in the intelligence community. Black’s new job at the NSA was to carry out Hayden’s “transformation” plan by siphoning business to companies like his. To get the Trailblazer contract up and running, Black hired one of his closest associates from SAIC: Sam Visner, who had left the NSA in the mid-1990s to work as a contractor.

    Visner was a true believer. His father had been a scientist on the Manhattan Project during World War II, and according to his former associates, he saw Trailblazer as the twenty-first-century equivalent of the atomic bomb needed to win the “war on terror.” Hayden’s hiring of him and Black, the whistleblowers say, set the stage for SAIC winning the Trailblazer contract.

    In April 2001, the NSA awarded the first part of the contract to SAIC, Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin and TRW, which was absorbed into Northrop Grumman in 2002. Their job was to “define the architecture, cost, and acquisition approach” for the project, according to a 2001 NSA press release. The results of their deliberations were announced in September 2002, when the NSA, as recommended by the companies, awarded the prime contract, called the Technology Demonstration Platform, to SAIC. It was initially worth $280 million. SAIC’s team included Northrop Grumman, Boeing and CSC—the company where Visner now works.


    [Persecuted whistleblower Thomas] Drake sat in on many of the Trailblazer meetings and claims the concept setup was a scam. He told me that the four companies agreed secretly that the prime contract would go to SAIC, while they would divvy up big chunks of the subcontracting among themselves. Later, as a material witness for the Pentagon’s OIG, he provided investigators with hundreds of documents relating to the bidding and award process for Trailblazer; they remain classified, and Drake can talk about them only indirectly. Most crucial, he says, were statements he collected from NSA officials showing that agency leaders had told their procurement office to hand the award to SAIC. “The orders came from the very top,” Drake says. “They just ensured it was weighted in a way to award it to SAIC and its subcontractors. That was the deal.”

    •  Cronyism at its worst and with no compunction (14+ / 0-)

      whatsoever about building "a corporate transformation" of NSA capacity to spy on Americans and businesses and allies while failing in its most important criteria of protecting our country. They failed on 9-11.

      In 2004 the DoD IG report criticized the program (see the Whistleblowing section below). It said that the "NSA 'disregarded solutions to urgent national security needs'" and "that TRAILBLAZER was poorly executed and overly expensive ..." Several contractors for the project were worried about cooperating with DoD's audit for fear of "management reprisal."[5] The Director of NSA "nonconcurred" with several statements in the IG audit, and the report contains a discussion of those disagreements.[14]
      This is the glaring failure of lobbying, the revolving doors of DC and our politicians.

      And it's affecting our national security.

      A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.

      by bronte17 on Sat Jul 20, 2013 at 06:50:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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