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laststeamtrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-04-08 08:30 PM
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BOOKS-US: Cloak-and-Dagger, Inc.
BOOKS-US: Cloak-and-Dagger, Inc.
By Pratap Chatterjee*

VANCOUVER, Canada, Dec 4 (IPS) - When Barack Obama visits the Virginia headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency in the not-too-distant future, he might want to scan the room to see how many of them sport green badges, the telltale sign that they are contractors and not federal employees.

At the dozen or so other intelligence agencies scattered around the Washington area, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Pennsylvania Avenue or the Maryland-based National Security Agency, he is likely to find quite a number are from the private sector.

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.

To learn about the 16 agencies that run the nation's spy operations, Obama might pick up a copy of Jeffrey T. Richelson's authoritative handbook on the intelligence agencies ("The U.S. Intelligence Community"), but if he wants to know what the green badgers do inside the agencies, he'll need a copy of Tim Shorrock's "Spies for Hire," released earlier this year by Simon and Schuster in hardback.

A new updated paperback version will be available right after the new administration takes office this spring.

"We Can't Spy...If We Can't Buy," was the catch-phrase on a PowerPoint slide presented by the Terri Everett, the senior procurement executive of the Director of National Intelligence that Shorrock uncovered last year that sums up the attitude of federal intelligence managers, beginning with the Bill Clinton administration...
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