FDL Talks Intelligence Contracting with Tim Shorrock

The Washington Post has been turning lots of heads this week with a big series on intelligence contracting. But we here at FDL have been talking about it for years, not least when we hosted Tim Shorrock–who wrote the book on intelligence contracting, Spies for Hire–for a book salon two years ago.In light of all the attention focused on the issue this, week, I asked Shorrock to come back to talk to use about the series, the problems with contracting, and some other issues the WaPo didn’t hit.

As I pointed out on Monday, one thing Shorrock emphasized was the degree to which the contractors are partnering with the government to develop longterm strategy.

Shorrock describes, for example, [Mike] McConnell’s key role in the formation of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA), a trade organization that serves as a bridge between large intelligence contractors (like Booz Allen, SAIC, Computer Sciences Corporation, and ManTech) and the officers from CIA, NSA, and DHS who join them on the board of the organization. “INSA,” Shorrock explains, “is one of the only business associations in Washington that include current government officials on their board of directors.” Shorrock describes how INSA worked with the DNI (back when John Negroponte was DNI and McConnell was head of INSA and a VP at Booz Allen) to foster information sharing in the intelligence community–including with contractors. He reports that, for the first time in 2006, INSA’s contractors were consulted on the DNI’s strategic plans for the next decade. And Shorrock describes one intelligence veteran wondering “if INSA has become a way for contractors and intelligence officials to create policy in secret, without oversight from Congress.”

McConnell, after nurturing this enhanced relationship between contractors and government intelligence services, ascended to serve as DNI. He was, Shorrock points out, “the first contractor ever to be named to lead the Intelligence Community.” Once confirmed, McConnell immediately buried a report assessing the practice of outsourcing intelligence. And he worked to further expand the ties between government spying and its contractors.


[The warrantless wiretap program] not just about Bush and Cheney ignoring laws and spying on citizens (though it is that). It’s that, in the name of fighting terrorism, the Bush Administration is creating a monstrous new Intelligence-Industrial Complex in which intelligence contractors and the government collaborate–with little oversight–to snoop at home and abroad.

If you’re interested in the WaPo piece, I recommend you pick up Shorrock’s book for a really exhaustive picture of the problem.

Meanwhile, I’ll start off this chat with some questions for Shorrock:

1) I complained the other day that the WaPo had not used the confirmation hearings for James Clapper–which happened yesterday–to contextualize the issues and possible solutions for the problems identified in their story. You’ve written about Clapper’s role in the privatization of intelligence. Assuming he is confirmed, what are the ramifications for our security and our budget?

2) On Monday’s installment, the WaPo used the example of Nidal Hasan to explain the risk of the redundancy and sheer volume of information:

In the days after the shootings, information emerged about Hasan’s increasingly strange behavior at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he had trained as a psychiatrist and warned commanders that they should allow Muslims to leave the Army or risk “adverse events.” He had also exchanged e-mails with a well-known radical cleric in Yemen being monitored by U.S. intelligence.But none of this reached the one organization charged with handling counterintelligence investigations within the Army. Just 25 miles up the road from Walter Reed, the Army’s 902nd Military Intelligence Group had been doing little to search the ranks for potential threats. Instead, the 902’s commander had decided to turn the unit’s attention to assessing general terrorist affiliations in the United States, even though the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI’s 106 Joint Terrorism Task Forces were already doing this work in great depth.

The 902nd, working on a program the commander named RITA, for Radical Islamic Threat to the Army, had quietly been gathering information on Hezbollah, Iranian Republican Guard and al-Qaeda student organizations in the United States. The assessment “didn’t tell us anything we didn’t know already,” said the Army’s senior counterintelligence officer at the Pentagon.

One thing you’ve written about more than the WaPo is the way in which contractors are policing the contractors. Yet, to review how the Intelligence Community missed Nidal Hasan’s danger, Obama asked William Webster to conduct a review. Webster is the epitome of the kind of guy wandering back and forth from the private contracting world. Why shouldn’t we let someone like Webster conduct this review?

3) In discussions of reasons to outsource, there’s not much discussion of the efforts to break unions (except in the case of TSA). You work in labor now. To what extent do you think the contracting of lower level employees stems from an anti-union agenda?

4) The WaPo has presented their series as big news. And while it may be to members of the Village, they completely ignored the work you and Jeremy Scahill and others have already done on this problem. Why do you think they did that? And what have you learned from their series?

  1. Tim Shorrock says:

    Clapper – if you read my article posted above from FPIF, you’ll see he’s very involved in the contracting industry. I think the Post could have led their piece yesterday with an anecdote about him to lead the contracting story. After all, he was up for confirmation that morning! As it turned out, the Senate asked Clapper plenty about contractors, but not about his own role. That’s a huge piece of the story that WaPo completely ignored – how people like Mike McConnell and John Brennan go in and out of both the contracting and gov’t world until they’re so intertwined the line no longer exists.

    • emptywheel says:

      So Clapper defended redundancy yesterday (a stance I don’t entirely diagree with–after all, more effective agencies like INR would probably be the first they’d cut). But he also defended contracting pretty seriously. Any chance we’ll get some change on this contracting stuff?

      • Tim Shorrock says:

        There’s some changes afoot. It’s called insourcing – bringing jobs back into gov’t that should never have been outsourced. The DoD is leading the effort, to their credit. But there’s huge resistance from contractors and their Republican allies, as well as from agency managers who are so used to contractors they probably have them make their own bed in the morning.

  2. Leen says:

    Welcome Tim. Thanks for all of your important work.

    Also Listening to the Diane Rehm show right now . They have Dana Priest and Arkin on in five minutes. Wrote them and asked your question ‘what took them so long” Also encourage their people to join this discussion and invite you on the program. Wondering if we can piggy back on their discussion

    The Washington Post spent two years investigating the national security and intelligence system created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The reporters behind the story on whether the security complex is too big, costs too much and makes Americans any safer.
    Dana Priest

    national intelligence reporter for The Washington Post and author of “The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America’s Military.”
    William Arkin

    national security reporter for The Washington Post.
    John Negroponte

    first director of national intelligence (2005-2007); deputy secretary of State under George W. Bush (2007-2009); currently vice chairman of McLarty Associates.

  3. klynn says:

    Welcome back Tim. Thanks for hosting this EW.

    I would add as question #4: The inherent risks for outsourcing HR and background checks and the rapid growth of the private sector in intel making us more vulnerable to spies. The idea was in the past, you worked for the gov because you believed in the import of protecting our freedoms. If your skills can be bought for a price away from the government to go work for the private sector does that not mean you are available to the possibility of any foreign agent for a price? So much of the series focused on “bling” on insistance on a certain lifestyle that $$$ can buy. That mindset should never belong in intel due to the risk of the mindset.

          • Gitcheegumee says:

            Two of my “issues” has been the Al Yammamah deal involving BAE,and secondly, the “fusion centers”. Now I am not saying these two are connected. I AM saying they have been two of my bete noirs for some time now.

            Do you care to share any input about a nexxus between BAE and ,say, BP perhaps?

            I read on your site that BAE is in construction as we speak, of a new intel building in DC area,right?

            Any input on fusion centers and the sharing of classied info with private, corporate entities?

            • Tim Shorrock says:

              The fusion centers are a scandal waiting to happen. It’s where they blend intel with domestic law enforcement. This is where Day One of the Post story was good, outlining all these centers around the country. There’s no oversight of them. We have no idea what they’re collecting and how they’re using it. The Obama admin did stop a proposal from the Bush admin to make it easier for domestic law enf & FBI to get classified intel but these fusion centers are doing it in other ways. The ACLU has been very active on this issue.

              • Sara says:

                “The fusion centers are a scandal waiting to happen. It’s where they blend intel with domestic law enforcement. This is where Day One of the Post story was good, outlining all these centers around the country. There’s no oversight of them. We have no idea what they’re collecting and how they’re using it. ”

                We’ve already had one crack up here in Minnesota with a regional national with international links gang taskforce and fusion center. Lots of property theft going on, and a number of state and local officers sent to the fusion center for training were prosecuted. Word is the whole set-up was infected, but the prosecution stopped with State Crime level people. They took the whole program down for re-organization. Part of this group had a hand in tracking Somali individuals and organizations involved with supporting Shabbaz in Somalia.

                • Gitcheegumee says:

                  re: Fusion centers

                  An excerpt from a June,2010 statement to Congress:

                  As we move forward, public-private cooperation is growing ever more important. We arebuilding on already successful partnerships and looking forward to new opportunities.
                  DHS has initiated several pilot programs that enable the mutual sharing of
                  cybersecurity information at various classification levels:
                  • DHS and Michigan are conducting a proof-of-concept pilot in which the EINSTEIN 1network flow monitoring technology helps secure Michigan’s
                  dot-gov networks. The purpose of this study is to help state governments enhance theircybersecurity and to increase DHS overall cyber situational awareness.
                  • DHS, the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center have launched a pilot designed to help protect key critical networks and infrastructure within the financial services sector by sharing actionable, sensitive information—in both directions—to mitigate the impact of attempted cyber intrusions.
                  We are also working on a pilot that brings together state fusion centers and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure to provide access to Secret-level classified cybersecurity information. The Cybersecurity Partners Local Access Plan is a pilot initiative allowing security-cleared owners and operators of CIKR, as well as State ChiefInformation Security Officers and Chief Information Officers, to access Secret-level cybersecurity information and participate in Secret-level video teleconference calls via their local fusion centers, allowing classified information sharing outside of Washington,

                  • Gitcheegumee says:

                    Statement for the Record
                    Gregory Schaffer
                    Assistant Secretary
                    Office of Cybersecurity and Communications
                    National Protection and Programs Directorate
                    Department of Homeland Security
                    Before the
                    United States House of Representatives
                    Committee on Homeland Security
                    Washington, DC
                    June 16, 2010

                  • Gitcheegumee says:

                    PDF] Statement for the Record of Gregory Schaffer Assistant Secretary …File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View as HTML

                    Jun 16, 2010 … inform the official FISMA report to Congress. …. their local fusion centers, allowing classified information sharing outside of Washington …


                  • Tim Shorrock says:

                    Thanks for this. It’s what I was talking about earlier. This is the surveillance state at work. Where was the ACLU and other orgs like that in the Post series?

                    • Gitcheegumee says:

                      You are very welcome,sir.

                      And there is a WHOLE lot more in the body of his lengthy statement,worth a complete read.

    • Tim Shorrock says:

      Right. The Post focused on the money flowing through, but didn’t get to the real nub of the story – how contractors affect policy. As I pointed out on Democracy Now the other day, they’re always looking for the NEXT contract. They have to expand. They have to grow. These are capitalists. They need to expand their market, just like any industry. So with the counter-terrorism stuff they have the gov’t by the balls. If the contractors say there’s a threat, here’s what we can do for you, the agencies will say fine, here’s the money. The IC put out a statement this week saying gov’t officials are making the key decisions. Well, that’s bullshit. Contractors are doing all kinds of work that’s inherently governmental, as the Post reported, like doing reports making recommendations for spending down the line. They have an interest in that outcome. How can their judgements be trusted? I think we need to cut back drastically on contractors at the top level. Ystdy Clapper said he’s look at the large number of contractors at ODNI. ODNI? Why are companies like Booz, Lockheed & Northrop running our most top level intel office? It’s amazing to me.

      • klynn says:

        It would be interesting to focus on the financials…

        I wrote the other day:

        The other underlying story, which is only hinted at and is a bit on the soft news side, is the vast number of firms which are also tied to or owned by private equity firms.

        There are bits which bring out the concern IRT shareholders. But the focus on equity firms is quite understated.

        It would be great to develop a map of the intel firms, what equity firms they are tied to and which countries the equity firms,and the members of the board of directors for both the intel corp and equity firm are tied to.

        A visual of our security risk so to speak.

        • Tim Shorrock says:

          You are right. Private equity has moved into this industry in a big way. The Carlyle Group, which I wrote extensively about in 2003 and 2004 under Bush, now owns Booz Allen Hamilton. That’s a major contractor. For a while it owned QinetiQ – where George Tenet is a director – helped it expand, then sold it for a fortune. Look at the WaPo coverage of Carlyle over the past few years. It’s unbelievable. Rah rah aren’t these people wonderful, handing over the money to the arts, etc etc? Check on my site timshorrock.com for stories I’ve done on Booz and Carlyle. Also, mappping out these companies and their owners is something I’m trying to do with my database with CorpWatch. It’s small compared to the Post’s, but there’s actually more info here about what cos do for intel than what Arkin put together. http://www.crocodyl.org/spiesforhire

  4. Leen says:

    As you pointed out during your interview on Democracy Now ” why it took the Washington Post so long to investigate the US intelligence system?
    Have you been invited to be a quest on any of our so called liberal news outlets to discuss your book, articles, etc about defense spending, private contracts andthe growth of this industry? Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Ed, Dylan Ratigan, Diane Rehm? Anyone invite you on their programs?

    Can you tell us say over the last century what percentage of our defense budget has been contracted out to the private sector over that period of time How it has increasingly been diverted into the private sector?

    • Tim Shorrock says:

      No I haven’t. I’m getting media calls from all over the world – New Zealand, Al Jazeera, Iran … but not the USA! Nothing yet from MSNBC. I think they were pretty wowed by the Post’s coverage and didn’t really analyze it. Yesterday Jeremy Scahill wrote a great piece about the Post and chiding them for taking credit for the story.

    • Leen says:

      Can you tell us say over the last century what percentage of our defense budget has been contracted out to the private sector over that period of time How it has increasingly been diverted into the private sector?

      • Tim Shorrock says:

        I can’t give you a percentage here. But read my chapter in Spies for Hire about the history of intel privatization. I go way back and show how more and more was outsourced over the years. It’s’ amazing how much was privatized under Clinton/Gore. Under the rubric of “reinventing govt,” they outsourced all kinds of jobs, including intel in places like Bosnia. That’s where Halliburton got its first big logistics contract. And that’s where some intel companies got their start. Bush, of course, went whole hog on privatization; but the trend began long before and was especially strong with Clinton.

        • Leen says:

          Clinton must regret that privatization.

          What communication company rewired the White House when he was in office?

          What do you know about Amdocs and Comverse Infosys? Carl Cameron brought up these Israeli based communication and datamining companies in his four part report way back in 2001. Reported something about a back door into one of these systems had been infiltrated

          • Tim Shorrock says:

            I did some reporting on them, and someone else has recently (on CounterPunch I think – someone who used to be with Radar). They’re Israeli companies. Israel’s deep into the surveillance wars and provides a lot of technology used by the NSA.

            • Leen says:

              Camerons report touched this issue and reported that these Israeli based communication companies have access to 95% of Americans phone calls.

              The big question would seem to be “are we safer” because of this expansion of private contractors in intelligence collecting?

              in the 9/11 commissions report, in one article and interview after another of former head of the CIA Bin Laden unit Micheal Scheuer, Former Cia analyst Ray McGovern, during interviews with one leader after another from the middle east we hear that the Israeli Palestinian conflict and the U.S’s unbridled support for Israel no matter what they do is one of the greatest security threats to our nation. And yet we just build up more of a web of intelligence instead of getting at some of the core reasons as to why people want to attack us.

              Sort of ass backwards

  5. Tim Shorrock says:

    To start: I’ve been extremely critical of the Post for how long it took them to get this story and their refusal to acknowledge the work of people like myself who broke this story years ago. At the same time, part one of their series, on Monday, was an outstanding piece of work that outlined the full size of the intel community. But I think they should have stopped there. The rest of the series was pretty flat and didn’t reveal anything new. The reporting was pedantic and could have appeared years ago. They should have been covering this intersection of capitalism and national security from the beginning. But that’s pretty hard when a paper’s chief advertisers are companies like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Even part of this series has been sponsored by Northrop!

    • klynn says:

      I wrote this comment on the previous thread this AM:

      That third part of the WaPo series just ends no where. It is weird. No recap of the critical issues. No interviews with experts to ask hard questions about the dangers of rapid growth of the intel industry within the private sector with no oversight.

      It just ends in an unfinished fashion.

      The whole series hints at the dangers of the growth but does not get any factual, historical concerns or point-of-view from anyone who studies the concerning issues of individual rights and security.

      It just kind of talks about the growth of intel industry. It does not examine it or dig.

      I agree day one was all that was needed. Although, from the last two days we did the underlying message that intel workers are available for a price…which is a bad element for our national security.

      • Tim Shorrock says:

        I think WaPo has the same problem as the intel agencies – too much info and not enough analysis. They didn’t know what to think about all they’d gathered. Priest is a good reporter, but she was clearly out of her league here in trying to figure out the ramifications of all this. It’s totally amazing to me they didn’t mention INSA, the chief association of intel contractors, that both Mike McConnell and John Brennan used to run and Clapper ran years ago. You’re right, the series ends with a real estate tour of Northern Virginia. Good grief!

      • Tim Shorrock says:

        Every night the electronic version of the Post’s articles have had a banner headline over them. One night it was Northrop Grumman. Last night it was BP! It appears that they sold the space as a premium knowing they’d get lots of views of their articles. Check it out now and see who’s’ up there.

    • Leen says:

      Hey do you care if I take your statement and take it over to the Diane Rehm show and ask Arkin and Dana Priest who are on right now?

        • Leen says:

          O.k. just sent a few of your statements and the whole conversation so far. Encouraged them to draw some of their questions for Priest and Arkin off this blog.

  6. billyc says:

    Hi Tim
    Do you think our technological abilities to vacuum up data globally has far surpassed our abilities to analyze it and thus be able to identify a threat to us?

    • Tim Shorrock says:

      Oh yes, definitely. That’s why the NSA sought contractors out to build their system so they could analyze the stuff. SAIC’s Trailblazer, $5 billion, was supposed to be the answer. But it failed miserably. So SAIC got another contract. The problem is, they want to record every call that happens on earth and then have them stored so they can go back and analyze when something comes up. That’s why NSA is building this huge complex in Salt Lake City – to store all this data, trillions and trillions of bits. Why are we doing this? It’s insane.

  7. Leen says:

    Fox News Carl Cameron’s 2001 four part report on alleged Israeli agents wiretapping potential terrorist communications before 9/11 he mentioned the companies Amdocs and Comverse Infosys which I believe are both Israeli owned communication companies. In that report Cameron went onto report a bit about how datamining works and inferred that these Israeli owned communication systems had access to 95% of U.S. phone calls. He also mentioned that there were strong indications that one of those communication systems had had a back door into that system infiltrated,

    What do you know about Amdocs and Comverse Inforsys? Do we know anything about how many of the 850,ooo people with security clearances have dual citizenship?

  8. klynn says:

    It would be important to gather how many employed in the intel sector both private and gov have dual citizenship. That is a very big security concern.

    • Tim Shorrock says:

      Very few, I would imagine. Even having a foreign spouse, or a spouse raised in another country and a naturalized citizen, is seriously problematic for a national security employee.

  9. emptywheel says:


    One thing the WaPo story skirts around is the stimulus that all this contracting has had on DC’s economy. That’s one of the things that gets me(I’m going to write a post if I get a break at NN). The DC Villagers can’t really see how the rest of the country is suffering because of all this money flowing into secret stuff. But then it’s going to defend the secret stuff for financial self-interest as much as anything else.

  10. WilliamOckham says:


    Great book (thanks to ew for recommending it). One of the things that has always bothered me is the bizarre bifurcation in the way the government treats “leaks”. Contractors regularly give away tons of information about on-going activities through job postings and I’m sure I’m not the only who who has noticed. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone (not even in Congress) complain about this. If you want to know what our intel apparatus is up to, it’s pretty easy to comb the web for job postings. Did anyone ever bring this up when you were doing your research?

  11. Gitcheegumee says:

    This is indeed a privilege to have you here, Mr. Shorrock-and MANY thanks to our hostess,Ms. EW.

    For some time now, as the regulars here know, I have posted this:I know this is redundant,as I have posted it several times over the past months, but if I may, in light of the topic,(from 2006):

    President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations. Notice of the development came in a brief entry in the Federal Register, dated May 5, 2006, that was opaque to the untrained eye.

    Unbeknownst to almost all of Washington and the financial world, Bush and every other President since Jimmy Carter have had the authority to exempt companies working on certain top-secret defense projects from portions of the 1934 Securities Exchange Act. Administration officials told BusinessWeek that they believe this is the first time a President has ever delegated the authority to someone outside the Oval Office. It couldn’t be immediately determined whether any company has received a waiver under this provision.

    The timing of Bush’s move is intriguing. On the same day the President signed the memo, Porter Goss resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency amid criticism of ineffectiveness and poor morale at the agency. Only six days later, on May 11, USA Today reported that the National Security Agency had obtained millions of calling records of ordinary citizens provided by three major U.S. phone companies. Negroponte oversees both the CIA and NSA in his role as the administration’s top intelligence official.

    William McLucas, the Securities & Exchange Commission’s former enforcement chief, suggested that the ability to conceal financial information in the name of national security could lead some companies “to play fast and loose with their numbers.” McLucas, a partner at the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr in Washington, added: “It could be that you have a bunch of books and records out there that no one knows about.”


    NOTE: I would be curious as to how many of these contractors and contracts are considered,”Top Secret”,ergo,SEC reporting exemptions.

    Update: According to Riehm’s guest this a.m.,over 1900 contractors have top security clearance.

    • Tim Shorrock says:

      You find this exemption at work when you study contractor websites and their press releases. Go to CACI’s site, for example, and click press releases, then find new contracts. You’ll see language like “CACI was awarded a $zillion contract by a national security agency.” That’s it for the info – they don’t have to disclose what they’re doing or the risks to investors from the contract. It’s classified so they don’t have to disclose. Of course they want to trumpet the info, though, so more people will invest. I say – if the gov’t want to protect secrets, don’t outsource to companies that sell their stock on public stock markets! I got more info about intel ops from SEC filings and investor briefings than I did from official gov’t sources. In one incident I relate in the book, a ManTech guy disclosed one of their contracts was with NSA. He disclosed classified info!

      • klynn says:

        You find this exemption at work when you study contractor websites and their press releases.

        That would be data worth gathering and showing the nation.

  12. klynn says:

    So we bailed these firms out, they are getting record tax dollars through backdoors on intel investments, calling the shots on creating intel profits and qualifying for not reporting to the SEC or possibly getting out of paying huge business taxes?

    Do not get me started on their growth in the health care sector.

    More oversight please.

    Huston, we have a BIG problem. This is not WE The People.

  13. Sara says:

    I am interested in what Congress might do — given that at least the WP series reminds some folk that the Outsourcing matter is still around and undealt with.

    I have been thinking about the huge difficulty my Senator, Al Franken has had getting his little bitty amendment into the Defense Appropriations Bill, that makes it illegal for a contractor to demand of female employees, that they give up in advance the right to sue in case of rape. He finally got it in, but you would think he had asked them to turn the world inside out instead of just change one clause in a contract.

  14. Mary says:

    When the SWIFT story came out, one of the pieces of info was that the US tried to use contractors (I think it was Booz) as the oversight mechanism too. IIRC, we tried to sell the European govs on the fact that Booz would “audit” our “administrative warrants” and that would make it all better – no one would have to worry.

    Uh huh.

      • emptywheel says:

        That’s sort of where I was going with my Webster question.

        He was still working on his review of the Nidal Hasan case in May when I heard him speak. He also admitted that he had, in some senses, a bigger role before he returned to govt in his current position (I forget the title). Which to me said he was doing more senior work as a contractor.

        In any case, he’s now checking what is basically contractors’ work to see why those contractors failed. But he’ll go back through that revolving door to contracting in the near future, right?

        It’s sort of the same problem as contractors getting to influence policy.

        • Tim Shorrock says:

          OK, on Webster. He’s the first and only guy to run the CIA and the FBI. Very involved in intel and nat’l security privatization. Here’s something I wrote under Bush, when Webster was appointed then withdrew from doing a review of Wall Street accounting firms (this was never published):

          William Webster, the former director of the CIA and FBI, resigned last November from the SEC’s new accounting oversight board after embarrassing revelations that he was a director of US Technologies, a company under investigation for fraud.

          The Times, which was riding the Webster story for the past week, has duly reported that Webster is the only man to head both the Central Intelligence Agency and the FBI. True enough. But neither the Times or the Wall Street Journal has bothered to report how Webster, like many of his former pals from the CIA and FBI, has made profitable use of his experience in the national security establishment by signing up as an intelligence adviser and troubleshooter for big multinationals and banks.

          He performs those duties as a senior board member of Diligence LLC, a company founded by former US and British intelligence officials, and Global Options Inc., a Washington consulting company headed by Admiral William J. Crowe, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and R. James Woolsey, another former director of the CIA. Also little know is the fact that US Technologies, where Webster chaired the audit committee, was once one of the nation’s largest employers of convict labor – an abhorrent practice proudly described in company press releases. Webster has also been affiliated for many years with Pinkerton Inc., the company which has made a fortune over the last century by busting unions and fingering subversives. By all indications, Webster has the perfect pedigree for the crony capitalists who now run the White House and the US foreign policy machinery.

          The haste of Webster’s appointment raises several questions: Will Webster’s control over the accounting board allow him to limit the scope of its investigative powers and avoid certain companies deemed important to national security? And is the Bush administration using Webster to resurrect the old CIA connection to the SEC, which began during the 1970s when President Nixon appointed William Casey, an old CIA and OSS hand, to head up the agency?

          • Tim Shorrock says:

            On Webster, I would also add that he has a decent record on some things. I once wrote about a strange database never fully confirmed called Main Core, once controlled by FEMA. It became an issue once during the Reagan admin.

            Here’s something I wrote about the database and Webster:

            Further clues about Main Core can be found in press reports dating back to the 1980s. Reports of the FEMA database first surfaced in 1986, when the Austin Amerian-Statesman obtained documents showing that, under Reagan and Bush, FEMA’s role had expanded to include terrorist interdiction as well as “areas of domestic national security emergencies.” Part of FEMA’s new tasks, the newspaper found, involved compiling a dossier containing “the names of American citizens who might be considered security threats.”

            In what may have been a precursor to the 2004 dispute between Bush’s White House and Ashcroft’s Justice Department, FBI Director William Webster resisted attempts by Reagan’s National Security Council to “have the lists of some 12,000 Americans” handed over to FEMA, the newspaper reported.

            So he’s not a Cheney – spy on everybody – but I think his ties to contractos make him a problematic choice.

  15. emptywheel says:


    Can you remind us why we’ve been outsourcing all of these functions? I asked above whether it had to do with making labor easily expendable (at the lower levels). But what else is driving this?

  16. Hugh says:

    Some of us write a lot on economic and financial issues. In doing so, we often refer to the corporatism of the two parties. I suppose that is a question right there. Do you see any difference in how the two parties act toward the intelligence community? In any case, “corporatism” has other associations. As Benito Mussolini said, “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” Isn’t this what we are seeing throughout our government and which we euphemize with phrases like “pro-business” and “revolving door”? Mussolini’s definition certainly seems applicable to the intelligence community. What does that say about the state of our democracy?

  17. Tim Shorrock says:

    As far as the series goes, I was most surprised by the lack of coverage of the revolving door and what it means. Nothing about Tenet’s role with contractors since leaving the CIA. I mean, check this out (Salon): http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/05/07/tenet_money/

    This isn’t relevant? What was Tenet’s relationship to these cos while he was at CIA? What does he really do for them? What is Mike McConnell doing now at Booz, after leaving DNI? These are the really difficult issues that the Post simply ducked.

    • Sara says:

      “This isn’t relevant? What was Tenet’s relationship to these cos while he was at CIA? What does he really do for them? What is Mike McConnell doing now at Booz, after leaving DNI? These are the really difficult issues that the Post simply ducked.”

      I think it is the same theory of hiring a retired Senator at a Law Firm, an act they call a “Rainmaker” — you more or less cover this with your Cressy quote about a Rolodex only being good for a little more than a year.

      One stat I rather liked in the post piece was the contrast of the very high priced Board and Administrative talent (all called overhead in any IC or DoD contract), and the 40 thousand dollar analyist salary offered to their actual workers. A few bucks better perhaps than a CIA starting salary, but not much, and at CIA you probably get three years of training early in career.

    • Mary says:

      These are the really difficult issues that the Post simply ducked.

      And the “news” media that constantly uses these guys for quotes, as anonymous or even named sources, as guest and analysts, etc. always ducks this too. No context ever given to the fact that your “analyst” who was a “former intel official” is now pulling his check from someone with a vested interested in the tale being told.

      • Tim Shorrock says:

        Right. One of the reasons I think that Post intel reporters have ducked writing about contracting is because half their sources are contractors. They get lots of info from them, and then quote them as “intel officials.” They don’t want to burn their sources by writing about the industry and its ties with senior government officials. Not one mention in the MSM press of the fact that Clapper has extensive ties to contractors? What is that about?

        • emptywheel says:

          Well, and it also looks like the WaPo did long negotiations w/them about what they could publish. I can’t believe that Clapper simultaneously called for less classification yesterday EVEN WHILE suggesting there were troublesome revelations in the WaPo piece. Does he think we’re chumps?

          • Tim Shorrock says:

            Incidentally, I think the Post’s negotiations really weakened their database. That’s something you, Marcy, pointed out quite well in your recent posting. http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2010/07/19/an-anonymous-government-official-doesnt-want-you-to-know-that-lockheed-works-for-nsa/

            There’s far more info on my CorpWatch database about Lockheed and other companies than what’s in Arkin’s database. With all their resources they’ve put together a ton of data but no way to really see what exactly a Lockheed or a Booz does for the NSA, the CIA and other agencies. Again, please check out the Spies for Hire database http://www.crocodyl.org/spiesforhire

            It’s limited and we’re just a little nonprofit, but you will learn far more there about actual intel operations than you will from the Post. We’re trying to expand it now. And by the way, all my info is from public sources – press releases, websites, etc etc. Nothing secret here. By obfuscating this information, the Post has done a major disservice. Their website LOOKS impressive, but they threw in the towel to the agencies. Despite what Arkin says about how they stood up.

  18. Leen says:

    I wonder if all of these new intelligence analyst etc could track the who what where why when of the Niger documents? The who what where why when of Douglas Feith Office of Special plans. Wonder if they could help hold any of the false intelligence government factory liars accountable.

    Do they look “backwards”? We have yet to witness anyone held accountable for any of that deadly false intelligence

  19. Leen says:

    o.k. someone just called into the Rehm show and mentioned Jeremy Scahill and Tim Shorrocks investigative work on this issue

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      Leen, thank you for alerting us to this broadcast.

      I have been listening all along as I am participating here.

      • Leen says:

        Dana and Arkin just skirted around the mention of both Jeremy and your work. Danced around it. Did not take that opportunity to acknowledge your work. Telling and so pathetic.

        Asked Diane to have you on. Have been directing their producer over here. Who knows?

        • Tim Shorrock says:

          It is pathetic. The Post wants another Pulitzer. It’s going for the prizes. It doesn’t want to acknowledge that other reporters broke the story years ago! Especially a couple of left-wing journalists like me and Jeremy Scahill. This is the Post, after all, the Voice of God. Only they know what is news.

          • Leen says:

            Diane just kissed the WaPo’s ring and congratulated both Priest and Arkin. So telling that they skirted around your names and work.
            Just sent this one to the Rehm show
            “come on over to Firedoglake for a far more in depth discussion of this issue. Emptywheels place You folks should really think about having Tim Shorrock on. That was telling that Dana Priest and Arkin just skirted around the investigative reporting that Jeremy Scahill and Tim Shorrock have been doing for years on this. She would have shown herself to be a much bigger person by acknowledging their important work on this issue. Telling”

  20. klynn says:

    Here’s an interesting map to examine.

    Where has the Bush Homeland Security Team gone? The map is pretty interesting.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      re: Where has Bush’s Homeland Security Team gone?

      I posted this last August on an EW thread entitled “Red Alert: Bush Has Already Lost “. (There is a LOT of commentary on that thread this is salient to today’s topic,btw.)


      Here is an interesting item involving Tom Ridge from 2005, the same year,when in late summer, Katrina hit New Orleans.


      On April 21, 2005, Savi Technology, Inc., then a private company, created Savi Networks LLC, a new joint venture company, with Hutchinson Ports Holdings to install active RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) equipment and software in participating ports around the world and to provide users with the information, identity location and status of their ocean cargo containers as they pass through such ports.

      Tom Ridge, the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, joined the Savi Technology board April 5, 2005, just prior to the deal.

      Savi Networks was capitalized at $50 million from the joint venture partners. Savi Technology holds a 51 percent interest in Savi Networks while HPH holds the remaining 49 percent.

      On the same day, April 21, 2005, HPH made a concurrent $50 million investment in Infolink Systems, Inc., the parent company of Savi Technology, which provided HPH with 10 percent of Infolink on a fully diluted basis.

      On May 4, 2005, GlobeSecNine, made a $2 million strategic investment in Infolink Systems, Inc., the parent company of Savi Technology.

      On June 8 of this year, Lockheed Martin acquired Infolink Systems, Inc., thereby acquiring Savi Technology, Inc.

      A spokesperson for Lockheed Martin confirmed that the HPH interest in the joint venture subsidiary, Savi Networks, survived the acquisition of Infolink by Lockheed.

      As WND previously reported, Savi Networks is currently negotiating a contract with North America’s SuperCorridor Coalition, Inc., NASCO, the Dallas-based trade organization that advocates developing continental trade corridors along Interstates 35, 29 and 94. The contract will allow Savi Networks to establish sensors along the super-corridor that would read RFID tags placed on containers transported by truck and train, including containers from China and the Far East which enter the North American continent at Mexican ports, including Lazaro Cardenas on the Pacific.

      GlobeSecNine’s chairman of the board is Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser to Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush. He also was chairman of President George W. Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from 2001 to 2005. From 1982 to 1989, Scowcroft also served as vice chairman of Kissinger Associates. ~~WND

  21. Mary says:

    One thing I’ve wondered about with these big multinationals is when the other shoe may drop with respect to their obligations under foreign law. We’ve been such a behemoth, no one (in Congress) has seemed to worry about this much. I remember during the surveillance program debate (or what passed for it) this general acceptance by even the anti-domestic spying crew that it was “ok” to pick up any and all foreign to foreign communications we could get our mitts on.

    No one was talking about the old FISA “agents of foreign power” rationales and that the only Govt function in such surveillance should be national security – instead, it was all about there being NO impediments to taking any foreign to foreign communications. And the common usage of “national security” as we have some waning of power on various fronts, has become so broad that there is almost nothing that you can’t make some kind of “national security” argument for grabbing.

    But when we are talking about all this outsourcing, we are talking about things like using ATT – which may have obligations under French or German or Spanish etc. law – to grab German to German communications without any requirment for a warrant, without any Congressional supervision or Court supervision, and now without any foreign power to foreign power or true national security reasons. That’ can’t fly under the laws of those nations – that a multinational corp is operating within their boarders as a vehicle for collecting info on their citizens and companies (and politicians personal lives, etc.) to hand over to the US.

    This seems to be a really under-discussed issue. There’s no way the TSP could have been legal in the countries in which they were collecting info (after all, it wasn’t legal here) and Congress can’t give immunity from prosecution in other countries. Is it just because of factors like US sharing info with intel in those countries that they can’t collect themselves and US power that has prevented other countries from investigating what the telecoms were doing with respect to the citizens of and businesses in those countries?

  22. bamage says:

    Mr. Shorrok, I gave you and JS a shout-out on the DR show. Hope I didn’t mispronounce your name.

  23. emptywheel says:


    I know you may need to return to your day job now. But this post will be live for a day or so, so there may be people who drop in w/questions later.

    In any case, I really appreciate you taking the time to join us over here.

      • Tim Shorrock says:

        You are welcome. I’m really pleased to have my work recognized this week. I’ve had lots of calls and emails from reporters and editors who’ve been around a long time, telling me that everyone knows that I and a few others were there first, long before the Post. In fact I’ve been overwhelmed by the support. As someone who believes deeply in how media can contribute to democracy, I feel privileged by it.

    • knowbuddhau says:

      Thanks a million, ew, for being on this way before it was hip. Can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed been blissed outta my freakin’ mind, by your work. I bow most humbly in your virtual direction.

      Mr. Shorrock, OMG, dude! I became involved in the CIA Off Campus movement back in the 90s at U Washington. I debated 3 CIA officers for hours, at a job fair, during which time they steadfastly refused to discuss anything the Company had done in the past with people whom they were trying to recruit.

      My father went to Vietnam and back, getting decorated for reorganizing the way Navy planes are maintained and put back into service, ultimately making more efficient the Navy’s killing of countless thousands of the millions we killed.

      And those bastards wouldn’t even admit the CIA had anything to do with the war!

      So, from the deepest depths of my heart, I thank you, and humbly bow in your virtual direction, too (as always, Coriolis correction requested).

      • Tim Shorrock says:

        Wow. Thanks! Pls remember – just because I think contracting is screwed up doesn’t mean I support what the CIA does or has done on its own w/o contractors. Their record of intervention in the sovereign affairs of other countries is sordid. Vietnam. Guatemala. Japan. South Korea. Iran. Iraq. Talk about blowback!

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Chris Floyd’s got a perfect strike that is right down your “Myth Alley”,kb,over at Empire Burlesque.

        Well worth a look…. amazing echoes of your posts.

        The Lies That Bind: American Myth Obscures Murderous Enterprise

        Written by Chris Floyd

        Wednesday, 21 July 2010 13:35

  24. Tim Shorrock says:

    Much of the WaPo photos and their accompanying reportage could have popped up in the Post anytime in the last seven years if the newspaper had been covering this beat as it should have: a combination of capitalism and national security that had virtually no precedent in American history.

    Instead, intelligence contracting rose to unimaginable degrees year by year after 2001, yet the Post was content with little bits about the industry here and there (an item about DIA contracting one day, an expose of outsourcing at DHS an another) but with no larger thematic or enterprise stories to show their readers that this was growth of historic proportion.

    For the most part, intelligence contracting was covered as a business story about the upward growth of area companies, with little attempt to understand what the private monolith was about. It was just rah rah Lockheed, rah rah Booz Allen, rah rah Carlyle.

    And now they cry THE SKY IS FALLING THE SKY IS FALLING LOOK AT ALL THE CONTRACTORS!!! OMG!!! Chicken Little Washington Post.

  25. klynn says:

    Thank you for joining us here Tim. Hope we may have you visit again. You are a wealth of information.

    • Tim Shorrock says:

      Thanks. Happy to come back anytime. I really appreciate the work of Marcy and Emptywheel. She does amazing reporting that is often missed by the MSM. She’s on the trail. She goes right to the nub of issues. I really appreciate that.

      • emptywheel says:

        Thank you for the kind words–and I will probably take you up on the offer to come back some time.

        I’m headed out to NN stuff now. I really appreciate that you took the time to join us.

      • Leen says:

        “She goes right to the nub of issues.”

        Damn right she does. And the MSM can not take much of that. She might reveal live that our congress and MSM have been more focused on lies about blowjobs than intelligence snowjobs. Can’t have that

  26. klynn says:

    deep into the surveillance wars

    That phrase has so many implications in regards to our reality as a democracy.

    • Tim Shorrock says:

      That’s right. This stuff is terrifying. See what I wrote about the NGA/U-2 role in Hurricane Katrina. http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/08/09/domestic_surveillance

      Now helping out with a disaster is one thing. That’s good and how imagery intel should be used. But imagine how powerful this stuff is, and how it could be misused in the wrong hands. Scary. And if anyone thinks that the big contractors are going to think, oh hey, this might be problematic, we’ll back out – they’re fooling themselves. Only one telco company bucked the NSA on its illegal surveillance out of hundreds that cooperated.

  27. Gitcheegumee says:

    Just a thought, but will (or already do)the private intel contractors do “research” on medical records,also?

    I would think with a new ,national healthcare plan-and online health records – that would be data mining gold.

    • klynn says:

      Yeah, the single largest part of the stimulus package.

      Will Walmart do this under the umbrella of business intelligence?

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Wal-Mart, Intel, Others To Create Massive Health Records Database …Dec 6, 2006 … Wal-Mart EVP Linda Dillman calls Dossia a “godsend.” She says it will create better health care, make employees healthier, …

        http://www.informationweek.com/news/global…/showArticle.jhtml?... – Cached – Similar

        Dossia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaIn fall of 2008, WalMart was the first Dossia Consortium member to roll out the PCHRs to their 1.4 million employees plus their dependents. …

        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dossia – Cached – Similar

        [PDF]Wal-Mart Is Piloting E-Health Record SystemFile Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat

        Jan 24, 2008 … The rollout by Wal-Mart is part of a larger project announced more than a year ago by Dossia, a coalition that includes Wal-Mart and several …


        Show more results from http://www.dossia.org

        • klynn says:

          Creepy name. So close to “dossier” which just fills the mind with all kinds of Cold War images.

          • Gitcheegumee says:

            To further enhance your Cold War visual (or virtual) analogy,there’s this :

            Wal-Mart’s data center remains mystery » Local News » The Joplin …May 28, 2006 … JANE, Mo. – Call it Area 71. Behind a fence topped with razor wire just off U.S. Highway 71 is a bunker of a building that Wal-Mart considers so secret …. He did say that the list includes 4000 to 4500 sites across the …

            http://www.joplinglobe.com/local/…/Wal-Marts-data-center-remains-mystery – Cached

    • Tim Shorrock says:

      That’s a serious issue. Robert O’Harrow, a Post reporter who’s much better on these issue than Priest/Arkin, has done some good work on it.

    • emptywheel says:

      Not data mining, if you believe the govt. But under Section 215 of PATRIOT, they can get health records. (And they are certainly getting a greater volume of business records w/Section 215 than they let on).

  28. bobschacht says:

    EW & Tim,
    Thanks very much for this discussion.

    When I “spotlighted” one of your previous diaries on this subject, EW, I had a hard time trying to figure out who to send your diary to. There are very few journalists who have “intelligence” as part of their beat. And not many focus on “National security.” Are there journalists who include intelligence issues as part of their regular beat? If so, under what category? Is part of the problem that the press is NOT covering these matters?

    I am hoping that one of the spin-offs of the WaPo series is that more journalists will pay more attention to these issues.

    Bob in AZ

  29. Leen says:

    Still wondering if any of those new 850,ooo new intelligence workers could back track and find out the who what whee why when of the Niger Documents? Seems like plenty of people and intelligence power

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      How about tracking this ?

      Source: PEER

      For Immediate Release: July 21, 2010

      Contact: Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337


      Navy Cannot Find Records to Quell Claims of Continued Open Sea Dumping

      Washington, DC — The U.S. Navy cannot account for the disposition of artillery shells, missiles and other heavy munitions when its warships return to American ports after deployment, according to a lawsuit filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). PEER has received reports that the Navy still dumps ordnance at open sea to avoid cumbersome security arrangements for high-impact explosives when ships enter U.S. ports.

      On March 15, 2010, PEER submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of the Navy asking it for any records relating to disposal of unused munitions from Navy vessels returning to port as well as for copies of charts of known ammunition disposal areas in waters off U.S. coasts. For decades, both the Navy and the U.S. Army routinely dumped unwanted ordnance, including chemical weapons, at sea. Precisely when (or if) the practice of ocean dumping ended is not well documented.

      After the PEER request was acknowledged by the Chief of Naval Operations, it was shuttled to a number of naval commands, each concluding that it either could not find any responsive documents or not responding at all. The naval commands in this fruitless bureaucratic odyssey include the –

      * Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC);

      * Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA);

      * Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP);

      * Naval Operational Logistics Support Center (NOLSC); and

      * Ammunition Logistics Directorate (which offered no acronym).

      “What ultimately happens to our naval armaments did not seem like a tough question but perhaps we are missing some hidden complexity,” mused PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, who filed the document request after receiving complaints that some naval commands had reverted to old habits by jettisoning artillery shells and other munitions to avoid in-port storage procedures and/or to circumvent shortages of approved storage bunker space. “Hopefully, someone in the Navy tracks what happen

      Read more: http://www.peer.org/news/news_id.php?row_id=1377

      NOTE: ANybody remeber earlier discussions about the Gulf of Mexico having been used to dump old materiel?

  30. Citizen92 says:

    I understand that the CIA stood up its own venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel, some time ago.

    How effective has this firm been in developing new technologies, methods, etc, and has it contributed to the mushrooming of the contractors?

    Also, many of the contractors on the Posts’ list are 25 person shops or less. Does a cottage industry of such small shops really add value? Can a two person shop really produce anything that Lockheed can’t?

    • Tim Shorrock says:

      See my section in Spies for Hire about InQTel. The deal with the small companies is, they get some contracts, expand a bit, and then they get bought up by the big ones. That’s how the giants expanded in intel, by buying these so-called Beltway Bandits.

    • Leen says:

      Hope Rachel, Keith, Chris matthews, Ed, Dylan demonstrate some chutzpah and have you on their programs. “what is taking them so long”

  31. klynn says:

    Great salon EW. Thank you for setting it up when you are getting ready to go our of town. Not an easy task.

    Thank you.

    • Leen says:

      think she is all ready in Vegas. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. That is except when Netroots Nation is in town

  32. papau says:

    It seems intel is no different than any other government contracting process – you need elected official support. Indeed a small business needs multiple elected government official support. The lobbying required is not a bribe giving exercise – but it takes time, multiple years, no matter how nice and helpful the elected official and their staff is.

  33. Mary says:

    This was a great opportunity – thank you EW and Tim and thanks to bamage too, for getting the word out.

    It would make it so much more worthwhile to watch or listen to the news if they had guests with the depth of information of Tim Shorrock and Marcy etc.

  34. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Like any good defense contractor helping the DoD with its long-term strategy, that strategy makes permanent and growing use of the defense contractor imperative. Dumbing down internally and selling out externally; the American business model adopted wholesale by the USG. PT Barnum was right.

  35. papau says:

    re 25 person or less shop producing something Lockheed can’t –

    the answer is yes

    indeed it can produce what the gov in private meeting with the small shop admits it needs

    but it can not sell into the gov without intel getting support letters from multiple elected government officials.

    And a small cost item – no matter how high the value – is not of interest to the “name” contractors to resell for the small contractor as the profit does not cover their phone calls to get the contract.

      • Leen says:

        got it thanks. As I said it is tough for a peasant to trail along with some of these big brains at FDL.
        But clearly not afraid to ask questions even if they are not as razor sharp as some of the folks here.

        so thankful to be in the blog presence of people who care so much about justice, truth and the rule of law both nationally and internationally. Truly an honor. Gives me hope

  36. Barry Eisler says:

    Tim, EW, and everyone else, thanks for the great discussion. Tim, just ordered the audiobook (I listen to a lot of books in the car) and am looking forward to it. Will keep doing what I can to help get out the word.

  37. Cheryl says:

    Thanks so much for this great investigative work. IIRC you can add William Luti to the list of people that went from “The Office of Special Plans” right into Northrup Grumman. I’m guessing we could find most of the people from that “secret intelligence unit” of Cheney’s at the biggest contracting companies.

    • Leen says:

      So Cambone, Luti still in National intelligence instead of behind bars for the false pre war intelligence. How intelligent is that?

      do these guys have dual citizenship

      • Cheryl says:

        I don’t know about duel citizenship but they sure get around! I know you’ve followed this much closer than I but I can’t believe how many of these guys can stay under the radar as well as they do. I’ve been thinking for years that Luti was really a huge link in all of the BS coming out of the Office of Special Plans. I’m still convinced that the OSP had everything to do with the forged Niger docs. Funny how they never found the responsible party for those forged docs. s/

  38. Leen says:

    A CounterPunch Special Report
    Serving Two Flags
    Neo-Cons, Israel and the Bush Administration


    Shadow Elite: Neocons Blast Back, On Israel’s Behalf

    One might hope that the Neocon core has been chastened into silence or at least circumspection by the various failures of their grand vision for Iraq, what some critics have called “foreign policy malpractice.”

    Not so, says Stephen Walt of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government:

    They are effectively insulated from failure…Even if you’ve totally screwed up in office and things you’ve advocated in print have failed, there are no real consequences, either professionally or politically. You go back to [the neoconservative-populated think tank American Enterprise Institute] AEI and [neoconservative magazine] Weekly Standard and continue to agitate or appear on talk shows as if nothing has gone wrong at all. -Newsweek, Jan. 22, 2010

  39. Leen says:

    Another question I have for Tim Shorrock, Dana Priest, Arkin would be how many of those 850,000 people who now have national security clearances have ever had national security clearances in the past. And of those who have had national security clearances in the past how many of those have ever come into question, been investigated or been pulled?

    Have Luti or Cambone’s national security clearances in the past come into question or review?

    The Men from Jinsa and CSP
    Jason Vest/2002

  40. DWBartoo says:

    Another fabulous, seriously considered, and critically important post, EW.

    Thanks to you, Marcy, to you, Tim Shorrock, and to all of the rest of you for your superbly informed and thoughtful comments.

    A most excellent alliance of intelligence (the real thing) and capacity.

    WaPo, in its mendacity and elitist arrogance, merely covets the Pulitzer that rightfully belongs to … others.


  41. JasonLeopold says:

    I’m sorry I missed the chat this morning. And I intend to read through the discussion, but I wanted to note that it appears to me that the WaPo really went out of its way to avoid giving credit. I am sure that they used Spies for Hire as a source for their reporting (as well as other articles/books, etc). At the very least, they should footnote this or include the list of articles and books on their massive website devoted to this project that they relied upon. Barry Eisler did this on his website and in his book, Inside Out. He listed websites, books and other material that he read. To me, this all smacks of the Post trying to piss on the fire hydrant.

    I also want to add that two years ago, around the time the WaPo said they started investigating Top Secret America, the WaPo ran a review of Shorrock’s book in their own paper, written by Jeff Stein, who now works for the Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/29/AR2008052904230.html (do I sound like a conspiracy theorist?)

    Here’s an excerpt:

    As investigative reporter Tim Shorrock notes in this valuable (and angry) book, contractors have long had the run of the Pentagon and CIA, working hand in hand on projects ranging from reconnaissance satellites to Predator drones. But Shorrock persuasively shows that the business has changed dramatically in recent years, beginning even before the Sept. 11 attacks set off a homeland security gold rush.

    Today, intelligence contracting is a $45 billion-a-year industry, he says, chewing up three quarters of the estimated $60 billion intelligence budget. It is no longer limited mainly to providing hardware; its reach now extends from top to bottom, from data-mining contractors who sift the Internet for terrorist activity to spy handlers, regional intelligence analysts and ex-special operations troops who run paramilitary operations.

    • Leen says:

      I had linked the Diane Rehm show early on to the Salon. Someone got through and brought up Jeremy Scahill and Tim Shorrocks investigative reporting on this critical issue on the Diane Rehm show(they announce this above too). Dana Priest and Arkin had the opportunity to be graceful and give these two some credit for their investigative reporting on this but neither one of them did. Skirted around their names when the caller brought them up.

      Quite pathetic on Priest and Arkins part

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        It’s hard to get a man reporter to understand something give another credit , when his paycheck depends upon not understanding giving others credit.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          It could have been done in a straightforward, matter-of-fact fashion, as a prelude to describing the novel contribution Priest and Arkin’s work adds. Not citing – and linking – to Shorrock’s prior work is unprofessional, catty and dishonest. Greenwald concurs:

          Just read the years of work from Tim Shorrock — which disgracefully was not even cited by the Post — documenting how dangerous all of this.

          If this work is now awarded a Pulitzer, it will be a travesty unless Shorrock shares the same prize. It would be like awarding Watson and Crick the Nobel without mentioning Rosalind Franklin, whose research into the crystalline structure of DNA made their synthesis possible. (See here, here, here and here.)

          • Gitcheegumee says:

            EOH, Hear,hear.

            You know, I don’t get much time anymore to post any commentaries, but it has been serendipity that today, I have been provided that option.

            I was just thinking that it iis so easy to sit and criticize others-yet it is just as easy-perhaps even simpler-to give credit where credit is richly due.

            It seems the only grace left in the MSM is disgrace,of late.Whatever hap[pened to the concept of professional courtesy?

            • Leen says:

              If you listen to the Diane Rehm show and hear Bamage from above get through. They give a shout out to Scahill and Shorrock. Dana Priest slithers by that shout out. That was her clear opportunity to “give credit where credit it due” Arkin slithers by also. Absolutely pathetic and oh so revealing. The opportunity was right in their two or would that be four faces.
              “bamage July 21st, 2010 at 8:04 am

              Mr. Shorrok, I gave you and JS a shout-out on the DR show. Hope I didn’t mispronounce your name.

              Here is the link to the DR show yesterday where Priest and Arkin show their four faces

              Please contact the Rehm show and ask her to have Jeremy Scahill and Tim Shorrock on to discuss what they have found out about his same issue and more in their investigations on this issue

              Contact the Diane Rehm show

              What is taking Rachel, Keith, Chris Matthews, Ed, Dylan Ratigan (the most likely to have Tim Shorrock and Scahill on) so long?

      • pdaly says:

        Happpy to read all the comments. Can’t understand why Dana Priest at least couldn’t give a shout out to Shorrock and Scahill (and James Bamford’s The Shadow Factory, 2008). Maybe it was part of the agreement reached after months of the Washington Post’s secret discussions/deal making with the Administration?!!

        Glad that emptywheel is able to do the shout out for Shorrock.

        Here’s a handy quote in case the other researchers are passed over for awards in favor of the WaPo and its recent articles:

        It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them. ~Mark Twain

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          This “Twainism” very well may also apply:

          “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” – Mark Twain ….


          “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of journalists who already did the work(and did it better) long before you did .”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      For comparison, in the spirit of James Burke, the annual income to the banking industry from exorbitant fees, late charges and other induced penalties is about $40 billion a year, ten per cent or so less than the published annual revenue claimed by intel outsourcing industry.

  42. wohjr says:

    OT- Marty Lederman is out as DAAG. Maybe he can explain WTF he has been doing over there…. more than a little pissed.

  43. JasonLeopold says:

    OT and not a surprise (if you haven’t seen it yet)

    DOJ: No Criminal Charges in U.S. Attorney Firings

    Nora Dannehy, the special prosecutor tapped to investigate potential criminal violations tied to the removal of nine U.S. attorneys, has wrapped up the probe with a finding that no criminal charges be filed, the Justice Department announced today in a letter to Congress.

    The letter, written by Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich, said the Dannehy investigation, which began in September 2008, found that the evidence “did not demonstrate any prosecutable criminal offense” was committed with regard to the removal of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico. Dannehy found the evidence did not justify broadening the scope of the investigation beyond the removal of Iglesias.

    Dannehy and a team of FBI agents interviewed 60 individuals and had the full cooperation of the White House, Weich said in the six-page letter (.pdf) to House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) The investigators reviewed documents that a DOJ internal investigative report said were relevant for follow-up review.