The acronyms are seemingly endless. From SAIC and CACI to CSC, there are many companies you’ve probably never heard of making billions of dollars spying on you and your friends and family. As I mentioned yesterday when I highlighted how Booz Allen Hamilton earns 99% of its revenue from the U.S. government and that a substantial number of its contracts are “secret,” this entire thing is simply a gigantic racket and a very dangerous one at that. It’d be one thing if these so-called “private” contractors were merely funneling billions of dollars of taxpayer money to themselves like the bankers and their allies at the Federal Reserve do each day, but these contractors are also destroying the Bill of Rights and Constitution at the same time.
Tim Shorrock has written an excellent article on all this for Salon. Below are some excerpts:
Amid the torrent of stories about the shocking new revelations about the National Security Agency, few have bothered to ask a central question. Who’s actually doing the work of analyzing all the data, metadata and personal information pouring into the agency from Verizon and nine key Internet service providers for its ever-expanding surveillance of American citizens?
The revelation is not that surprising. With about 70 percent of our national intelligence budgets being spent on the private sector – a discovery I made in 2007 and first reported in Salon – contractors have become essential to the spying and surveillance operations of the NSA.
From Narus, the Israeli-born Boeing subsidiary that makes NSA’s high-speed interception software, to CSC, the “systems integrator” that runs NSA’s internal IT system, defense and intelligence, contractors are making millions of dollars selling technology and services that help the world’s largest surveillance system spy on you. If the 70 percent figure is applied to the NSA’s estimated budget of $8 billion a year (the largest in the intelligence community), NSA contracting could reach as high as $6 billion every year.
But it’s probably much more than that.
With many of these contractors now focused on cyber-security, Hayden has even coined a new term — “Digital Blackwater” – for the industry. “I use that for the concept of the private sector in cyber,” he told a recent conference in Washington, in an odd reference to the notorious mercenary army. “I saw this in government and saw it a lot over the last four years. The private sector has really moved forward in terms of providing security,” he said. Hayden himself has cashed out too: He is now a principal with the Chertoff Group, the intelligence advisory company led by Michael Chertoff, the former secretary of Homeland Security.
So Hayden actually used the term “Digital Blackwater” in a positive sense. What more do you need to know?