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April 05, 2009

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I agree completely, of course, and I note that this whole bankrupt "revealing our crimes will embarrass our allies" malarkey has been used more and more often lately; for example, when people such as Maher Arar tried to bring suits against the US government and its officials for the lack of due process and the torture they suffered, they are too often told that the US can't investigate its own actions because of the embarrassment such revelations would cause to those countries that collaborated in the misdeeds. And so the cases are dismissed, with the victims offered no recourse.

I imagine the conversation goes something like;
Brennan: "Look, if we release all the documents it'll cast a stain on anyone even remotely associated. People who didn't even do anything wrong. You'll have over 500 experts in their field being forced to resign, all of them taking the fifth. We can't even replace 50 pf these people, let alone that number. National Security will take a decade to recover which is unacceptable, especially now with so many attacks imminent".
Barry: "I see your point... nothing we can do."
No documents are released.

Yeah, at this point I won't be holding my breath for the Bush Lite administration to do anything that would upset any of the various establishment bureaucracies.

President Obama: let us see what our public servants defended as lawful, and the arguments they used. If necessary, don't name the countries who, to their shame, decided to assist us. But don't insult our intelligence by pretending that you and your administration have never heard of White-Out.

But it was coming clear from last November (November 22, to be precise) that Obama would not support any fullscale investigation into torture by the US military. This is just one more confirmation that he won't.

You can't support Obama's choice of Bush's Secretary of Defense for his own cabinet, and not think about the implications of that. Well, you can... but, you know: the implications of that choice were clear back five and a half months ago.

CharleyCarp: That's very depressing reading.

I'm scared of what's coming. Too many people all over the world have too many legitimate, just complaints against the US that are all getting denied and buried. But mobs don't stay buried forever.

Let me be the first to thank Hilzoy for her bluntness here.

(Especially given that my recent post on the story CharleyCarp linked takes a different tack.)

@Daro:

Holder or Obama might respond to Brennan that as bad as the economy is looking, they'd be mighty surprised to see that scale of resignations. Think the private security firms offer the benefits and pension packages of government work?

Granted, one or two get other government jobs, like that tool John Kiriakou being hired by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee...

"Think the private security firms offer the benefits and pension packages of government work?"

Yes, they pay vastly better, which is why the intelligence agencies have suffered such a gigantic and crippling outflow of their personnel to companies which then contract back the same personnel to the government at ten times what the government had paid them, while the individuals' salaries go up by a factor of four or more. There have been tons of articles about this in the past five-plus years. It's one of many evil things to happen to our government, and specifically the intelligence branches, in the post-9/11 period (although the trend started earlier).

So "do you want to go into the private sector?" isn't a useful threat, unfortunately. Homeland security, and intelligence contracting, remain booming businesses.

crippling outflow of their personnel to companies which then contract back the same personnel to the government at ten times what the government had paid them, while the individuals' salaries go up by a factor of four or more

The contracting is the point at which we should nip this vicious cycle. The near-certainty of such way-too-lucrative contracts is a big part of what enables the private companies to outbid the government in the first place.

Booz Allen Hamilton:

[...] In 2006, Booz Allen Hamilton, a privately held company based in McLean, Virginia, had a global staff of 18,000 and annual revenues of $3.7 billion. Its work for U.S. government agencies accounts for more than 50 percent of its business. Notably Booz Allen is a key adviser and prime contractor to all of the major U.S. intelligence agencies – the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the National Security Agency (NSA), and – as well as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Counterterrorism Center, the Department of Defense and most of the Pentagon’s combatant commands.

On its website, Booz Allen describes its intelligence work as part of its broader expertise in information technology. “Whether dealing with homeland security, peacekeeping operations, or the battlefield, success depend on the ability to collect, safeguard, store, distribute, fuse, and share information – on getting the right information to the right place at the right time,” it says. “Our security professionals work in partnership with clients to develop capabilities … for protecting information and networks against cyber and physical threats.”

[...]

Since the late-1990s, Booz Allen has forged a particularly close relationship with the NSA, the spy agency that monitors global telephone, e-mail and Internet traffic for the U.S. military and political leaders, which hired Booz Allen as its chief outside consultant on Project Groundbreaker. This $4 billion project outsourced the NSA’s internal communications and networking systems to a consortium led by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and the IT subsidiary of Northrop Grumman.

Today, among the many services Booz Allen provides to intelligence agencies, according to its Website, are war-gaming – simulated drills in which military and intelligence officials test their response to potential threats like terrorist attacks – as well as data-mining and analysis of imagery and intelligence picked up by U.S. spy satellites, the design of cryptographic, or code-breaking, systems (an NSA specialty) and “outsourcing/privatization strategy and planning.” The company’s 2007 annual report spells out several other areas of expertise, including “all source analysis,” an intelligence specialty managed by the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) that draws on public sources of information, such as foreign newspapers and textbooks, to add texture to data gathered by spies and electronic surveillance.

[...]

To carry out its tasks at the intelligence agencies, Booz Allen has hired a dazzling array of former national security officials and foot-soldiers. In 2002, Information Week reported that Booz Allen had more than 1,000 former intelligence officers on its payroll.

[...]

Buried deep on the company's Web site, however, a much larger number is confirmed in an explanation of a Booz Allen information technology contract with the DIA, which carries out intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. It stated that the Booz Allen team “employs more than 10,000 TS/SCI cleared personnel.” TS/SCI stands for top secret-sensitive compartmented intelligence, one of the highest possible security ratings, which would make Booz Allen one of the largest employers of cleared personnel in the United States.

Many of these former intelligence officers at Booz Allen, do the same jobs as they did for the government. For example, Keith Hall, a Booz Allen vice president initially worked in Army intelligence and on one of the congressional intelligence committees. In the early 1990s, he was hired by the CIA to manage budgets and policy development for then-Director of Central Intelligence Robert Gates. During that time, he played an instrumental role in creating the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, which was later renamed the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. During the Clinton administration, Hall was named Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for space programs and, simultaneously, director of the NRO, the agency that manages the nation’s military satellite program.

Now, as a Booz Allen executive, Hall leads a “strategic intelligence initiative” that integrates the company’s extensive contracting activities for the NRO and the NGA.

[...]

Other key executives who came to Booz Allen from the spy agencies include R. James Woolsey, the former director of the CIA, who was hired in 2003 to run Booz Allen’s “global resilience” division, which advises corporations on security issues, and Joan A. Dempsey, a career U.S. intelligence official and a former top aide to former CIA Director George Tenet, who was hired in 2005 as a Booz Allen vice president with responsibility to advise the DNI and other key intelligence agencies. (See box for list of other key corporate figures that previously worked in government intelligence agencies.)

Lots lots more you can read at that link. And guess who last year bought Booz Allen?

The Carlyle Group.

You remember them, everyone, right?

Booz Allen is just one of the companies doing our privatized intel/security. Theoretically CIA contracting has been being cut back since 2007 when contractors made up "about one-third of the CIA workforce, but what the real figures are, I wouldn't guess.

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