From the middle east. I happen to know that the NSA agents took the
Holiday off for the most part but they left all the data mining equipment
And recorders turned on so that they could continue to collect all the
"Desperate Housewife" secrets from around the country.
The call was from from my little sweetheart and daughter..she's a brave solder
And serving our country in a gallant way. She was pretty happy and upbeat
But her voice was breaking and beginning to weaken into the sadness because
She was so far away from the regular Christmas festivities here in Puddinville.
That's the good news: Next ain't so good.
Were sharing a Christmas dinner. She said.."Oh daddy, we solders never pull guard
Duty anymore...that's all contracted out to U.S. civilian contractors like all other services."
I thought about that...then moved on talking to her about just things.(full text of our conversation will someday be available at nsa.gov in the distant future).. But I couldn't
Get the fact out of my head that my daughters safety and that of other soldiers was now a paid service Just like Burger King and Pizza Hut.
I did a little investigation and talked to my son who is also in the Army stationed..well
I'm not at liberty to divulge that info...he said the civilian contractor security force are
All ex-military that have taken jobs with U.S. firms to return and perform security services to our troops. They get paid a whopping $140K a year plus benefits, he said.
`Wow...I thought...Dick Cheney sure thought the whole contractor thing through...
Since 9/11 we freightened Americans have paid through the nose for security and
From MSNBC and the Washington Post
By Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Scott Higham
Updated: 7:30 a.m. ET Dec. 25, 2005
As a small start-up company in Massachusetts sought to become a major player in the business of homeland security, it hired a lobbyist and attended a fundraiser for one of the most powerful members of Congress.
The company was Reveal Imaging Technologies Inc. The congressman was Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (R-Ky.). The fundraiser, held Oct. 22, 2003, brought in $14,000 from Reveal and was the beginning of a mutually beneficial association.
Reveal had just received a government grant to develop smaller, cheaper explosives-detection machines to scan baggage at the nation's airports. Rogers, who chairs the House Appropriations homeland security subcommittee, said he wanted the machines to improve security while saving taxpayers money.
In the end, Reveal received a federal contract from the Transportation Security Administration worth up to $463 million. Rogers achieved his goal of launching the next generation of machines. In the process, he received $122,111 in donations to his leadership political action committee from Reveal executives and associates -- and a pledge from the company to move $15 million worth of work to Rogers's poor Appalachian congressional district.
Reveal's dealings with Rogers illuminate the intersection of politics, money and homeland security in the rush to make the nation safer since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The relationship fits into a long tradition of companies seeking sympathetic ears on Capitol Hill and of lawmakers securing money for their causes and their constituents back home.
What is different today is that the money at stake is the billions of dollars that the White House and Congress have set aside for homeland security at a time of persistent fear about another terrorist attack.
What's the role of donations ?
A Washington Post review of scores of documents, along with interviews with company executives, government officials and procurement specialists, shows that while Reveal was developing a machine that would receive accolades, it also was donating to Rogers's PAC and hiring two lobbying firms to help smooth the way with the government. Rogers pressed homeland security officials to deploy the Reveal machines and take other measures that he said would make the country safer while his PAC received donations from homeland security contractors, some of which he encouraged to create jobs in his district.
In an eight-page letter to The Post, Reveal executives said there was no "connection between voluntary political contributions" to Rogers's PAC and the awarding of the contract. The president of the company said Reveal secured the contract strictly on the merits of its technology after a "rigorous and objective" certification process.
"Members of Reveal's management team, and others, make these voluntary contributions to Representative Rogers, and many other elected officials, because they share our concern about improving our Nation's Homeland Security technology, and for no other reason," Reveal president and chief executive Michael P. Ellenbogen said in the letter.
"It is the scientists at the TSA -- not Congress -- who decide what systems meet the government's rigorous requirements," he said.
TSA officials said Rogers played no role in the contracting process.
"The decision to award the contract to Reveal was based on the source selection team's conclusion that it offered the best value to the government," TSA spokeswoman Yolanda Clark said.
Rogers said he is working in the interests of the nation and his district. He dismissed any suggestion that campaign money could sway his policymaking.
"It's demeaning," the 13-term congressman said in a recent interview. "Anybody that knows me and knows my record knows that I will go after whoever it is standing in the way of doing the right thing. I'm going to do what I think is best for the country, regardless."
A magnet for money
After 25 years in Washington, Rogers, 67, is an old-school politician who looks out for his constituents and remains intently focused on reaching the pinnacle of power on Capitol Hill.
In 2001, Rogers became chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, a post that would give him an important role in directing aviation-security projects after the terrorist attacks. Two years later, he climbed even higher, becoming the first chairman of the Appropriations homeland security subcommittee.
That put Rogers at the center of the largest restructuring of the federal government in a half-century. His subcommittee holds the purse strings for billions of dollars in homeland security spending, giving him tremendous influence over the 22 agencies that make up the Department of Homeland Security. He can deny them appropriations if they refuse to follow his direction. He can hold public hearings and order investigations to examine how the department spends its money.
"He had our attention," former homeland security secretary Tom Ridge said in a recent interview.
Like other powerful members of Congress, Rogers has become a magnet for political contributions.
Three years ago, Rogers made it clear that he wanted to become chairman of the entire House Appropriations Committee, one of the most powerful jobs in Congress. Rogers formed Help America's Leaders Political Action Committee, better known as HALPAC. The PAC contributed to the campaigns of Republicans in tight races -- whose support Rogers hoped to draw upon in his quest to become Appropriations chairman. As of October, HALPAC had collected more than $1.8 million and had cash on hand of $545,236.
FULL STORY HERE: [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...]