Monday, June 9, 2008


TIM SHORROCK, SALON Over the past decade, contracting for America's spy agencies has grown into a $50 billion industry that eats up seven of every 10 dollars spent by the U.S. government on its intelligence services. Today, unbeknownst to most Americans, agencies once renowned for their prowess in analysis, covert operations, electronic surveillance and overhead reconnaissance outsource many of their core tasks to the private sector. The bulk of this market is serviced by about 100 companies, ranging in size from multibillion dollar defense behemoths to small technology shops funded by venture capitalists.

Nearly every one of them has sought out former high-ranking intelligence and national security officials as both managers and directors. Like [Richard] Armitage, these are people who have served for decades in the upper echelons of national power. Their lives have been defined by secret briefings, classified documents, covert wars and sensitive intelligence missions. Many of them have kept their security clearances and maintain a hand in government by serving as advisers to high-level advisory bodies at the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the White House. Now, with their government careers behind them, they make their living by rendering strategic advice to the dozens of information technology vendors and intelligence contractors headquartered along the banks of the Potomac River and the byways of Washington's Beltway. . .

Take the case of George Tenet, who retired in 2004 from his service as President Bush's CIA director. As he was writing his memoirs and preparing for a new career as a professor at Georgetown University, Tenet quietly began cutting deals with companies that earn much of their revenues from contracts with the intelligence community. And, as I was the first to report a year ago in Salon, Tenet began to make big money off of the Iraq war. By the end of 2007, he had made nearly $3 million in directors' fees and other compensation from his service as a director and adviser to four companies that provide the U.S. government with technology, equipment and personnel used for the war in Iraq, as well as in the broader war on terror.


At June 9, 2008 7:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you hear that giant sucking sound of your hard earned tax dollars going into privatization?

This is the Republican utopian vision for America. Same crappy service (or worse without accountability or oversight) of government at many times the price.

Welcome to the United Corporations of Amerika.

Anyone who votes for McSame needs to be shipped off to bumfuck somewhere for "enhanced interrogation" techniques to see if they have a brain.

At June 10, 2008 9:35 AM, Blogger Artisan said...

Hard to see how private organizations are less accountable, since they are easy to fire if underperforming. Also, to try and make the case that private companies are less efficient than the government is laughable. The reason these guys can make so much money is that they are receiving the same amount of money that used to be spent to do the same tasks by the government and doing it much more efficiently. Therefore, there is a lot of money left over. Good for them, I say.

At June 10, 2008 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that we've heard from KBR, Halliburton, Blackwater, one question , where did all that Iraqui oil money go and what did we get for it other than deeper in debt? Privatisation with no honest oversight amounts to guess what? Smelly oily cronyism.

At June 11, 2008 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to try and make the case that private companies are less efficient than the government is laughable

And there you have it: fascism's ultimate battle cry. No supporting evidence necessary.


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