Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Spies R Us

...This Can't Be Good For America

There was a rather perplexing article in Sunday's Washington Post regarding outsourcing of the US government's intelligence industry.
In April, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell was poised to publicize a year-long examination of outsourcing by U.S. intelligence agencies. But the report was inexplicably delayed -- and suddenly classified a national secret. What McConnell doesn't want you to know is that the private spy industry has succeeded where no foreign government has: It has penetrated the CIA and is running the show.
..Private companies now perform key intelligence-agency functions, to the tune, I'm told, of more than $42 billion a year. Intelligence professionals tell me that more than 50 percent of the National Clandestine Service (NCS) -- the heart, brains and soul of the CIA -- has been outsourced to private firms such as Abraxas, Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
Security services that were once government only are still managed at the highest levels by government employees (called blue badgers), but,
..more than half the workforce in two key CIA stations in the fight against terrorism -- Baghdad and Islamabad, Pakistan -- is made up of industrial contractors, or "green badgers," in CIA parlance.. ..beneath them, insiders say, is a supervisory structure that's controlled entirely by contractors; in some cases, green badgers are managing green badgers from other corporations.
Anybody else see a problem with that? The WaPo article seems pretty supportive of the practice, and at times the article reads like a brochure ("there's no question that the private sector delivers high-quality professional intelligence services. "), but even they admit to some caveats.

"These corporate-grown agents will be inculcated with corporate values and ethics, not those of public service."
- No kidding! In light of the 'cherry-picking' of intelligence that preceded the Iraq war could be multiplied by orders of magnitude just by the dictum of giving the customer what he or she wants. WaPo also points out that "Contracts come and go. So do workforces."
The people doing the sensitive, clandestine, classified work will from time to time lose their jobs when contracts run out, or their employers are outbid by competitors.. ..Any good counterintelligence officer knows what can happen next. Down-on-their-luck spies begin to do what spies do best: spy. Other companies offer them jobs in exchange for industry secrets. Foreign governments approach them. And some day, terrorists will clue in to this potential workforce.
As if things weren't bad enough already. We all know about the communications companies co-operating with the NSA in their illegal wiretapping program. We all know how hard it is to keep spyware off our personal computers, as corporations routinely do everything they can, legal and illegal to create a customer profile of everyone on the face of the earth. Then they sell the results of this datamining to other corporations. All we need is to have highly trained spooks out of a job with all the gear to set themselves up in the spy business, all paid for by you the taxpayer.

There has never been a more secretive administration than Bu$hCo™, characterized by Cheney's man-sized safe, millions of missing emails, a plethora of apparently amnesiac witnesses, bogus claims to executive privilege, and now Harriet Meirs outright criminal defiance of a Congressional subpoena. It is a black hole from which information cannot escape. Meanwhile your Fourth Amendment rights lie in tatters, heaped with the detritus of the rest of the constitution.

To paraphrase Jefferson, when the people know what the government is doing, there is freedom. When the government knows too much of what the people are doing, that is tyranny.

The neocon objective is supposedly to "shrink government to the size that it can be drowned in a bathtub." Who will fill the power vacuum if that happens, I ask? Obviously, the interlocking tentacles of Corporate 'Amerika' (MULTI-national in nature, with head offices in Bermuda, Dubai, or wherever gives them the best tax breaks. IOW - don't expect patriotism from these guys.) It seems to me like they have made every effort to set themselves up for that eventuality.
"While communism is the control of business by government, fascism is the control of government by business."
Are we there yet?

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