Saturday, December 6, 2008

THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN INTELLIGENCE

Pratap Chatterjee, Interpress News Service - A recent federal survey identified some 37,000 private employees in the intelligence sector who work side-by-side with civil servants as analysts, technology specialists and mission managers. About a quarter of this number are involved in the cloak-and-dagger activities of intelligence collection and operations. Indeed, well over half of the 66 billion dollars spent on intelligence in the United States is believed to go to private military contractors that range from the very well known Boeing and Lockheed to much more obscure companies like Anteon, LPA and Verint Systems. . .

The Obama administration is facing the very same conflicts of interest that the Bush administration did because most of the top-ranking officials in the intelligence industry today are already compromised by having crossed back and forth from public to private employment (at twice their government pay or more) and then back again.

Take the case of Michael McConnell, the current director of national intelligence, who ran the National Security Agency before quitting to work for Booz Allen Hamilton for 10 years, and then returned to work for the Bush administration as the nation's spy chief, where he effectively oversees the agencies that provided most of the revenues of his former employer. McConnell also used to head the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, or INSA, a chamber of commerce for the intelligence contractors.

Obama's first pick for the head of the CIA was John Brennan, a former CEO of The Analysis Corporation, a major intelligence contractor, who actually has the same job at INSA that Mike McConnell once held.

Brennan has since dropped out of the running, but Obama observers would do well to refer to Tim Shorrock's 'Spies for Hire' to see what conflicts of interest his future intelligence choices might bring to the table.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home