Up to now, whenever anyone talked about the so-called "privatization" of the war, I automatically thought of security for visiting dignitaries, mercenaries, truck convoy drivers, and other service related operations in the theater of war. And, technically, I wasn't wrong in my assumptions.
But, in the same respect, I was wrong in assuming that the aforementioned criteria embraced the full extent in which private corporations - both national and multinational - are participating in and in some cases even controlling the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the greater, so-called "war on terror" in general.
As it turns out, private corporations are even in charge of fielding covert spies all across the world; essentially rendering services previously provided by federal agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency, its relatively unknown National Clandestine Service (NCS), and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
But even that’s not the full story. Private corporations are now in charge of most of the day-to-day operations of national security on the domestic front as well, including analytical products for the benefit of national intelligence estimates and that most infamous of sensitive reports – the President’s Daily Briefings (PDB). That’s right; America’s most important document, detailing day-to-day threats to national security from within and without, are prepared by Fortune 500 companies - whose basic existence depends on efforts to maximize shareholder profits – which in turn are made possible only through bloated subsidization programs backed by... you guessed it – American taxpayer dollars.
Now, to call this a revolutionary practice in the world of national security would be a vast understatement. For the first time in American history, the U.S. government has veered away from the longtime tradition of keeping all aspects of national security under their own control, in deference to multinational corporations. According to the federal agency once primarily charged with the responsibility for preparing the PDBs, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), over the past six-years, the Bush administration has quietly allocated as much as seventy-percent of the total intelligence budget to private multinational contractors.
The Nation has a great article originally published July 24, 2007:
For all practical purposes, effective control of the NSA is with private corporations, which run its support and management functions. As the Washington Post's Walter Pincus reported last year, more than 70 percent of the staff of the Pentagon's newest intelligence unit, the Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), is made up of corporate contractors.
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) lawyers revealed at a conference in May that contractors make up 51 percent of the staff in DIA offices. At the CIA, the situation is similar. Between 50 and 60 percent of the workforce of the CIA's most important directorate, the National Clandestine Service (NCS), responsible for the gathering of human intelligence, is composed of employees of for-profit corporations.
Employees of private corporations – "green badgers", in CIA parlance -- provide sensitive services ranging from covert CIA operations in Iraq to recruiting and running spies. They also gather human intelligence on behalf of the CIA and analyze it, creating intelligence products used by the intelligence community and also shared with other branches of government.
Since 2000, corporate "operatives," intelligence professionals from companies such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC, and many others have been indoctrinated, given top security clearances, and thoroughly integrated into analytical divisions across the national security spectrum, including the clandestine intelligence community.
While it’s true that the U.S. government pays for and signs off on each intelligence assessment, the majority of the analysis involved, and even the underlying intelligence gathering is all done by private corporations. According to career intelligence officers, corporations have penetrated the intelligence community so much that it’s virtually impossible to distinguish between where the work of federal agencies stop and the work of corporate contractors begin.
And, that includes the gathering of intelligence and the analysis thereof involved in preparing the president’s PDBs, which ostensibly carries the ODNI seal, but in reality, the president’s daily briefing would look more like a NASCAR entry plastered with corporate logos all over it.
More from The Nation article:
Concerned members of the intelligence community have told me that if a corporation wanted to insert items favorable to itself or its clients into the PDB to influence the US national security agenda, at this time it would be virtually undetectable. These companies have analysts and often intelligence collectors spread throughout the system and have the access to introduce intelligence into the system.
To take an extreme example, a company frustrated with a government that's hampering its business or the business of one of its clients could introduce or spin intelligence on that government's suspected collaboration with terrorists in order to get the White House's attention and potentially shape national policy.
Or, more subtly, a private firm could introduce concerns about a particular government to put heat on that government to shape its energy policy in a favorable direction.
To get us into the Iraq War, intelligence regarding alleged weapons of mass destruction had to be very artfully manipulated to short-circuit a formidable bureaucracy designed to prevent just such warping of intelligence. Due to the shift toward wide-scale industrial outsourcing in the intelligence community, even that fallible safeguard has been eroded.
In other words, suspect sources relied upon by the CIA and other agencies, such as "Curveball" the Iraqi informant (real or imagined) who wrongly asserted the existence of WMDs, are no longer necessary, which in itself is alarming when one considers that the GWOT is now enabled by a $100-billion-plus industry with a vested interest in both its own continuity, and maximum profits for shareholders.
So, for all intents and purposes, the inception of multinational corporations into virtually every aspect of our federal government is now finished. The transformation is complete. Former and present-day military and Fortune 500 executives occupy administrative positions in virtually every federal agency in the United States.
In the same respect, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, ostensibly the analytical equivalents of CEO and COO respectively, are in charge of the most powerful country in the world. And all of our federal resources - whether it’s the gold in Fort Knox, our national resources - or the awesome, unstoppable power of the U.S. military – are now at the beckon call of Wall Street.
No wonder George Tenet effectively escaped accountability for failed pre-war intelligence, and instead received the vaunted Medal of Freedom. He did his assigned task... he effectively stayed out of the way.
I don’t know how we stop this greed-fueled juggernaut, folks. Like I said, it seems the transformation is complete. It’s really going to take; first a public acknowledgment by our Congress that our government has indeed been hijacked by run amuck capitalists, and second, some extreme outside-the-box ingenuity en masse in order to begin to take our government back.
Is it possible? I don’t know if it is. But, what I do know is that all attempts to do so start with both a vociferous public outcry... and impeachment.
Throw da bums OUT!