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Billions and Billions. What a Gig!!
11 abr 2010
From 1995 to 2001 US government expenditures regarding intelligence contractors were roughly $20 billion a year. Following 9/11, in 2002, contracts rose to $32 billion. In 2003 they moved up again to $42 billion annually. Since then they have remained virtually the same regarding what's on the books publicly.
The 1949 CIA Act allows the agency to swipe funds from any other government organization for their own purposes without having to explain themselves to anyone or to even disclose who exactly is taking them. This money is accounted for separately from their stated annual budget and is classified. As such we have no concrete idea what they spend and of course we don't know what they spend it on. They won't even be straight with the most high ranking member of the house. Nothing has ever been effectively done to remedy this problem (we're still having problems with warrantless wiretapping).

This is problematic as millions and potentially billions go missing from U.S. coffers annually which the taxpayers expect to go towards the programs the government is telling us they will go to. It's not like our elected representatives are entirely at fault here regarding appropriation of funds as they intended the funds to go to the services and projects originally written into law. Those are now deficits in what we should have gotten, expected to get when we voted, paid to get and were promised we would get. Congress is at fault for not updating, amending and clarifying the laws allowing this.

Some claim it's a matter of national security and that trumps environmental issues, bridge maintenence or outdated police cruisers. We currently allocate 70% of the published portion of the U.S. intelligence budget to corporate contractors handling intelligence work. It's been estimated by CIA insiders the agency alone uses 60% private contractors for its work.

These corporations are staffed by people trained by our government. In other words our taxpayer dollars train them, then they leave for 2 years and come back doing the same jobs as "private contractors" at an expense to you and I of roughly twice the price and sometimes more. For example former CIA director George Tenet who helped the Bush administration phony up the empty case presented to congress and the American people for going into Iraq now makes millions consulting for a corporation in their capacity as government contractors. That means you and I are now paying him millions annually as a reward for the War in Iraq. That's gratitude George.

The amount of contractors for intelligence services alone is estimated to be in the thousands, but 90% of contracts are listed as classified thus it's difficult to put specific numbers on what they get out of us specifically. Some information is known. The amounts they make from US taxpayers are huge as one person alone may be paid millions in taxpayer dollars.

Most contractors are in positions of being immune from ever being held accountable for their actions if any are found to be less than keeping within the law. This is due in large part to the far reach into the halls of congress and the White House they have built up and maintained over the course of decades.

The names of many consultants, executives and board members makes these companies seem more like a way station for influential former government employees. Many migrate between getting our tax dollars and building up influence as government employees, and getting many more of our tax dollars in the private sector while cashing in on that influence. The list of names are long and powerful some of whom include former presidents George H W Bush and George W Bush. Former United States Secretary of State James Baker III worked for twelve years for one firm. Former United States Secretary of Defense Frank C. Carlucci served for six years at one.

Ken Wiegand a senior vice president at one firm served a decade in Air Force intelligence. Marty Hill who worked a 35-year career in signals intelligence and electronic warfare and previously served as an expert under Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon now leads a team of 1,200 professionals in the private sector getting paid much more than in the government doing similar work and getting paid in the end by the same people - us. Michael McConnell soaked up these lucrative public funds after working as a government employee for many years including under Dick Cheney. After serving during George Bush senior's presidency and under General Colin Powell he went to work for a private intelligence contractor for over a decade then returned to government work as the United States Director of National Intelligence from 2007 to 2009 under George W Bush. Cozy.

One corporation boasts it employs over 1,000 former US intelligence officers. This same company has over 10,000 employees with the highest security clearance possible in US intelligence. The levels of clearance for any other government they may work for simultaneously is unpublished.

The arm and influence these private intelligence corporations have reaches into the highest seats of power in our government and as such have acquired much influence. An example, according to records filed with the Senate's Office of Public Records, is the revelation one intelligence contractor, Science Applications International Corp., spent $1,330,000 lobbying congress in 2006. That would of course be money gained mostly from past contracts with the government and taxpayer money.

Another example is San Diego defense contractor MZM who does intelligence work for the CIA and the Pentagon's CIFA. We know about their involvement with government lobbying because of Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham's involvement with them leading to his resigning in March 2006. He was sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of accepting bribes totaling more than $2 million from MZM. Former deputy director of the CIA, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, was also convicted of bribery in the awarding of a government contract to MZM and sentenced to 37 months in prison.

With recent revelations about information not shared with congress and more expected on the way it's clear the power over such a large and potentially dangerous sector of our government by private interests is a threat to our National Security. It is not in the interests of taxpayers at all, and at twice the price in this economy it's a hard sell. Intelligence services give people access to the most sensitive information about our country and we can't take the chances of future secrets leaving when a contractor is fired or moves on. The inherent hazards of funding militias that serve corporate interests over taxpayer's is also reckless. Before it grows any more malignant the expensive growth in power of these corporations within our government with impunity must be curbed.

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