It worries me that private contractors are bellying up to the super double-secret Intel taxpayer gravy train. The one Snowden worked for and got access to a dizzying array of classified info is called Booz Allen, and they probably just recorded my search on that name on Google while researching this post. They’re probably recording you reading it, too. And I have a message for them:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. — 4th Amendment US Constitution
Maybe I’ll just leave that up on every post from now on. Since they know so much about us, what can we find out about them?
Wiki — As of August 2008, what was formerly Booz Allen Hamilton’s parent company (which used the Booz Allen name itself) divided in two. The Booz Allen Hamilton moniker was retained by the half focusing on U.S. governmental matters, with Booz & Company taking sole control of its commercial strategy and international portfolio. Booz Allen Hamilton is majority owned by private equity firm The Carlyle Group, while Booz & Company is owned and operated as a partnership. On November 17, 2010, Booz Allen’s shares of common stock began trading at the New York Stock Exchange.
In June 2013, employee Edward Snowden revealed information and supporting documentation of a supposed Booz Allen Hamilton-contracted mass digital surveillance project called PRISM. Snowden fled to Hong Kong seeking asylum issuing a statement “I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded… That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”
The company released a statement condemning his whistle blowing actions as “shocking” and “a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm”.
Carlyle Group huh? Not comforting. The core values of Carlyle and Booz Allen are no doubt same as any other soulless behemoth: profit. In this case the profit comes from 1) providing NSA all kinds of spooky surveillance work on our phone and Internet habits, 2) cutting expenses as much as possible, and 3) ginning up as much business as they can in anyway they can from their giantest customer, the NSA. Which in this case all boils down to a junior level 29 year-old systems analyst having access to the phone calls of the POTUS and every other American. Vetting and security is ‘spensive dontya know! Moreover, like any company, we can infer Booz Allen will fight fair or dirty to keep that gravy train going, and they have all the dirt there is in the world at their disposal.
If that’s not alarming enough, these guys sound more connected than Goldman-Sachs — and of course it’s all secret, so no one can get any questions answered or make sure audits are accurate. It’s a real problem both ethically and for nat’l security. We don’t know what these guys are doing with those truckloads of US dollars, they could be doing a bang up job, cutting corners like every other company does, or playing touch football with bricks of 100 dollar bills:
WaPo — Thousands of people formerly employed by the government, and still approved to deal with classified information, now do essentially the same work for private companies. Mr. Snowden, who revealed on Sunday that he provided the recent leak of national security documents, is among them.
As evidence of the company’s close relationship with government, the Obama administration’s chief intelligence official, James R. Clapper Jr., is a former Booz Allen executive. The official who held that post in the Bush administration, John M. McConnell, now works for Booz Allen.
“The national security apparatus has been more and more privatized and turned over to contractors,” said Danielle Brian, the executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit group that studies federal government contracting. “This is something the public is largely unaware of, how more than a million private contractors are cleared to handle highly sensitive matters.”