Skip to main content

Money swirling into a black hole
Tim Shorrock, who literally wrote the book on the outsourcing of our national security to contractors, has an op-ed in the New York Times explaining how our privacy has been sold off to the highest (or most politically connected) bidder, and why that's a big problem.
Seventy percent of America’s intelligence budget now flows to private contractors. Going by this year’s estimated budget of about $80 billion, that makes private intelligence a $56 billion-a-year industry. [...]

First, it is dangerous to have half a million people—the number of private contractors holding top-secret security clearances—peering into the lives of their fellow citizens. Contractors aren’t part of the chain of command at the N.S.A. or other agencies and aren’t subject to Congressional oversight. Officially, their only loyalty is to their company and its shareholders.

Second, with billions of dollars of government money sloshing around, and with contractors providing advice on how to spend it, conflicts of interest and corruption are inevitable. Contractors simply shouldn’t be in the business of managing large projects and providing procurement advice to intelligence agencies. Thomas A. Drake, one of the N.S.A. whistle-blowers who exposed the waste and fraud in the N.S.A.’s Trailblazer program—Mr. Hayden’s disastrous attempt to privatize the N.S.A.’s analysis of intercepted signals intelligence—estimates that the project cost taxpayers as much as $7 billion (it was canceled in 2006). Yet the contracts kept rolling in, and Mr. Hayden went on to head the C.I.A.

Third, we’ve allowed contractors to conduct our most secret and sensitive operations with virtually no oversight. This is true not only at the N.S.A. Contractors now work alongside the C.I.A. in covert operations (two of the Americans killed in Benghazi were C.I.A. contractors; we still don’t know who their employer was).

There are contractors working on the intelligence used to track and kill suspected terrorists, "secret and highly sensitive operations that by law are reserved for government operatives." Contractors are involved in deciding who our government kills.

And there's the revolving door.

The poster boy is Michael McConnell, who served as N.S.A. director during Bill Clinton’s first term, then went to Booz Allen for a 10-year stint, became director of national intelligence for George W. Bush from 2007 to 2009, and is back at Booz Allen today.
That's what it's really all about—who's profiting, and profiting obscenely. How many of the contracts do you suppose Booz Allen is operating under today that were first awarded while McConnell was the guy in charge of awarding them? As much as this story is about protecting civil liberties, this story is about grift.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

skybluewater, Bob Johnson, bink, Alumbrados, DeminNewJ, chrississippi, Mogolori, Chi, teacherken, native, Me, emal, Shockwave, cotterperson, xynz, RFK Lives, floridagal, hubcap, rabel, taonow, splashy, wader, Eric Blair, psnyder, annan, TexDem, CitizenOfEarth, pat bunny, bula, zerelda, randallt, Mosquito Pilot, DarkSyde, solesse413, Gowrie Gal, joanneleon, 3goldens, Tinfoil Hat, Independent Musings, Simplify, stagemom, YucatanMan, Dobber, Laurence Lewis, Sun Tzu, Burned, kaliope, Ginny in CO, snoopydawg, Lindy, Jim P, begone, martini, kovie, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Kingsmeg, cookseytalbott, koNko, kck, blueoasis, triv33, erratic, NearlyNormal, sceptical observer, MBNYC, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, blueoregon, kurious, NonnyO, One Pissed Off Liberal, camlbacker, Debs2, devis1, Trial Lawyer Richard, david mizner, burlydee, Aunt Martha, SeaTurtle, bobswern, also mom of 5, wayoutinthestix, OleHippieChick, Thomas Twinnings, Involuntary Exile, elwior, KJG52, jamess, MrJayTee, exMnLiberal, petulans, 3rdOption, Notreadytobenice, gas28man, palantir, toom, RWN, bleuet, greengemini, divineorder, maryabein, War on Error, socal altvibe, shopkeeper, jfromga, angel d, catilinus, Just Bob, AliceNYC, Simple, RJP9999, Klaus, cordgrass, gulfgal98, Lady Libertine, Kristina40, Funkygal, Onomastic, annieli, TAH from SLC, allenjo, slowbutsure, freesia, smiley7, trumpeter, mrsgoo, tardis10, enhydra lutris, bluedust, SteelerGrrl, DRo, Chitown Kev, No one gets out alive, Williston Barrett, Joieau, a2nite, This old man, George3, mythatsme, Hammerhand, Lily O Lady, Panacea Paola, atana, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, simple serf, jbob, JayRaye, Icicle68, Demeter Rising, Kombema, dream weaver, bygorry

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site