The Jason Bourne Strategy: CIA Contractors Do Hollywood

Think of it as the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) plunge into Hollywood — or into the absurd. As recent revelations have made clear, that Agency’s moves couldn’t be have been more far-fetched or more real. In its post-9/11 global shadow war, it has employed both private contractors and some of the world’s most notorious prisoners in ways that leave the latest episode of the Bourne films in the dust: hired gunmen trained to kill as well as former inmates who cashed in on the notoriety of having worn an orange jumpsuit in the world’s most infamous jail.

The first group of undercover agents were recruited by private companies from the Army Special Forces and the Navy SEALs and then repurposed to the CIA at handsome salaries averaging around $140,000 a year; the second crew was recruited from the prison cells at Guantanamo Bay and paid out of a secret multimillion dollar slush fund called “the Pledge.”

Last month, the Associated Press revealed that the CIA had selected a few dozen men from among the hundreds of terror suspects being held at Guantanamo and trained them to be double agents at a cluster of eight cottages in a program dubbed “Penny Lane.” (Yes, indeed, the name was taken from the Beatles song, as was “Strawberry Fields,” a Guantanamo program that involved torturing “high-value” detainees.) These men were then returned to what the Bush administration liked to call the “global battlefield,” where their mission was to befriend members of al-Qaeda and supply targeting information for the Agency’s drone assassination program.

Such a secret double-agent program, while colorful and remarkably unsuccessful, should have surprised no one. After all, plea bargaining or persuading criminals to snitch on their associates — a tactic frowned upon by international legal experts — is widely used in the U.S. police and legal system. Over the last year or so, however, a trickle of information about the other secret program has come to light and it opens an astonishing new window into the privatization of U.S. intelligence.

Hollywood in Langley

In July 2010, at his confirmation hearings for the post of the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper explained the use of private contractors in the intelligence community: “In the immediate aftermath of the Cold War… we were under a congressional mandate to reduce the community by on the order of 20%… Then 9/11 occurred… With the gusher… of funding that has accrued particularly from supplemental or overseas contingency operations funding, which, of course, is one year at a time, it is very difficult to hire government employees one year at a time. So the obvious outlet for that has been the growth of contractors.”

Thousands of “Green Badges” were hired via companies like Booz Allen Hamilton and Qinetiq to work at CIA and National Security Agency (NSA) offices around the world, among the regular staff who wore blue badges. Many of them — like Edward Snowden — performed specialist tasks in information technology meant to augment the effectiveness of government employees.

Then the CIA decided that there was no aspect of secret war which couldn’t be corporatized. So they set up a unit of private contractors as covert agents, green-lighting them to carry guns and be sent into U.S. war zones at a moment’s notice. This elite James Bond-like unit of armed bodyguards and super-fixers was given the anodyne name Global Response Staff (GRS).

Among the 125 employees of this unit, from the Army Special Forces via private contractors came Raymond Davis and Dane Paresi; from the Navy SEALs Glen Doherty, Jeremy Wise, and Tyrone Woods. All five would soon be in the anything-but-covert headlines of newspapers across the world. These men — no women have yet been named — were deployed on three- to four-month missions accompanying CIA analysts into the field.

Davis was assigned to Lahore, Pakistan; Doherty and Woods to Benghazi, Libya; Paresi and Wise to Khost, Afghanistan. As GRS expanded, other contractors went to Djibouti, Lebanon, and Yemen, among other countries, according to a Washington Post profile of the unit.

From early on, its work wasn’t exactly a paragon of secrecy. By 2005, for instance, former Special Forces personnel had already begun openly discussing jobs in the unit at online forums. Their descriptions sounded like something directly out of a Hollywood thriller. The Post portrayed the focus of GRS personnel more mundanely as “designed to stay in the shadows, training teams to work undercover and provide an unobtrusive layer of security for CIA officers in high-risk outposts.”

“They don’t learn languages, they’re not meeting foreign nationals, and they’re not writing up intelligence reports,” a former U.S. intelligence official told that paper. “Their main tasks are to map escape routes from meeting places, pat down informants, and provide an ‘envelope’ of security… if push comes to shove, you’re going to have to shoot.”

In the ensuing years, GRS embedded itself in the Agency, becoming essential to its work. Today, new CIA agents and analysts going into danger zones are trained to work with such bodyguards. In addition, GRS teams are now loaned out to other outfits like the NSA for tasks like installing spy equipment in war zones.

The CIA’s Private Contractors (Don’t) Save the Day

Recently these men, the spearhead of the CIA’s post-9/11 contractor war, have been making it into the news with startling regularity. Unlike their Hollywood cousins, however, the news they have made has all been bad. Those weapons they’re packing and the derring-do that is supposed to go with them have repeatedly led not to breathtaking getaways and shootouts, but to disaster. Jason Bourne, of course, wins the day; they don’t.

Take Dane Paresi and Jeremy Wise. In 2009, not long after Paresi left the Army Special Forces and Wise the Navy SEALs, they were hired by Xe Services (the former Blackwater) to work for GRS and assigned to Camp Chapman, a CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan. On December 30, 2009, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, a Jordanian doctor who had been recruited by the CIA to infiltrate al-Qaeda, was invited to a meeting at the base after spending several months in Pakistan’s tribal borderlands. Invited as well were several senior CIA staff members from Kabul who hoped Balawi might help them target Ayman al-Zawahiri, then al-Qaeda’s number two man.

Details of what happened are still sketchy, but the GRS men clearly failed to fulfill their security mission. Somehow Balawi, who turned out to be not a double but a triple agent, made it onto the closed base with a bomb and blew himself up, killing not just Paresi and Wise but also seven CIA staff officers, including Jennifer Matthews, the base chief.

Thirteen months later, in January 2011, another GRS contractor, Raymond Davis, decided to shoot his way out of what he considered a difficult situation in Lahore, Pakistan. The Army Special Forces veteran had also worked for Blackwater, although at the time of the shootings he was employed by Hyperion Protective Services, LLC.

Assigned to work at a CIA safe house in Lahore to support agents tracking al-Qaeda in Pakistan, Davis had apparently spent days photographing local military installations like the headquarters of the paramilitary Frontier Corps. On January 27th, his car was stopped and he claims that he was confronted by two young men, Faizan Haider and Faheem Shamshad. Davis proceeded to shoot both of them dead, and then take pictures of their bodies, before radioing back to the safe house for help. When a backup vehicle arrived, it compounded the disaster by driving at high speed the wrong way down a street and killing a passing motorcyclist.

Davis was later caught by two traffic wardens, taken to a police station, and jailed. A furor ensued, involving both countries and an indignant Pakistani media. The U.S. embassy, which initially claimed he was a consular official before the Guardian broke the news that he was a CIA contractor, finally pressured the Pakistani government into releasing him, but only after agreeing to pay out $2.34 million in compensation to the families of those he killed.

A year and a half later, two more GRS contractors made front-page news under the worst of circumstances. Former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods had been assigned to a CIA base in Benghazi, Libya, where the Agency was attempting to track a developing North African al-Qaeda movement and recover heavy weapons, including Stinger missiles, that had been looted from state arsenals in the wake of an U.S.-NATO intervention which led to the fall of the autocrat Muammar Qaddafi.

On September 11, 2012, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was staying at a nearby diplomatic compound when it came under attack. Militants entered the buildings and set them on fire. A CIA team, including Doherty, rushed to the rescue, although ultimately, unlike Hollywood’s action teams, they did not save Stevens or the day. In fact, several hours later, the militants raided the CIA base, killing both Doherty and Woods.

The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight

The disastrous denouements to these three incidents, as well as the deaths of four GRS contractors — more than a quarter of CIA casualties since the War on Terror was launched — raise a series of questions: Is this yet another example of the way the privatization of war and intelligence doesn’t work? And is the answer to bring such jobs back in-house? Or does the Hollywood-style skullduggery (gone repeatedly wrong) hint at a larger problem? Is the present intelligence system, in fact, out of control and, despite a combined budget of $52.6 billion a year, simply incapable of delivering anything like the “security” promised, leaving the various spy agencies, including the CIA, increasingly desperate to prove that they can “defeat” terrorism?

Take, for example, the slew of documents Edward Snowden — another private contractor who at one point worked for the CIA — released about secret NSA programs attempting to suck up global communications at previously unimaginable rates. There have been howls of outrage across the planet, including from spied-upon heads of state. Those denouncing such blatant invasions of privacy have regularly raised the fear that we might be witnessing the rise of a secret-police-like urge to clamp down on dissent everywhere.

But as with the CIA, there may be another explanation: desperation. Top intelligence officials, fearing that they will be seen as having done a poor job, are possessed by an ever greater urge to prove their self-worth by driving the intelligence community to ever more (rather than less) of the same.

As Jeremy Bash, chief of staff to Leon Panetta, the former CIA director and defense secretary, told MSNBC: “If you’re looking for a needle in the haystack, you need a haystack.” It’s true that, while the various intelligence agencies and the CIA may not succeed when it comes to the needles, they have proven effective indeed when it comes to creating haystacks.

In the case of the NSA, the Obama administration’s efforts to prove that its humongous data haul had any effect on foiling terrorist plots — at one point, they claimed 54 such plots foiled — has had a quality of genuine pathos to it. The claims have proven so thin that administration and intelligence officials have struggled to convince even those in Congress who support the programs, let alone the rest of the world, that it has done much more than gather and store staggering reams of information on almost everyone to no particular purpose whatsoever. Similarly, the FBI has made a point of trumpeting every “terrorist” arrest it has made, most of which, on closer scrutiny, turn out to be of gullible Muslims, framed by planted evidence in plots often essentially engineered by FBI informants.

Despite stunning investments of funds and the copious hiring of private contractors, when it comes to ineptitude the CIA is giving the FBI and NSA a run for their money. In fact, both of its recently revealed high-profile programs — GRS and the Guantanamo double agents — have proven dismal failures, yielding little if anything of value. The Associated Press account of Penny Lane, the only description of that program thus far, notes, for instance, that al-Qaeda never trusted the former Guantanamo Bay detainees released into their midst and that, after millions of dollars were fruitlessly spent, the program was canceled as a failure in 2006.

If you could find a phrase that was the polar opposite of “more bang for your buck,” all of these efforts would qualify. In the case of the CIA, keep in mind as well that you’re talking about an agency which has for years conducted drone assassination campaigns in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Hundreds of innocent men, women, and children have been killed along with numerous al-Qaeda types and “suspected militants,” and yet — many experts believe — these campaigns have functioned not as an air war on, but for, terror. In Yemen, as an example, the tiny al-Qaeda outfit that existed when the drone campaign began in 2002 has grown exponentially.

So what about the Jason Bourne-like contractors working for GRS who turned out to be the gang that couldn’t shoot straight? How successful have they been in helping the CIA sniff out al-Qaeda globally? It’s a good guess, based on what we already know, that their record would be no better than that of the rest of the CIA.

One hint, when it comes to GRS-assisted operations, may be found in documents revealed in 2010 by WikiLeaks about joint CIA-Special Operations hunter-killer programs in Afghanistan like Task Force 373. We don’t actually know if any GRS employees were involved with those operations, but it’s notable that one of Task Force 373’s principal bases was in Khost, where Paresi and Wise were assisting the CIA in drone-targeting operations. The evidence from the WikiLeaks documents suggests that, as with GRS missions, those hunter-killer teams regularly botched their jobs by killing civilians and stoking local unrest.

At the time, Matthew Hoh, a former Marine and State Department contractor who often worked with Task Force 373 as well as other Special Operations Forces “capture/kill” programs in Afghanistan and Iraq, told me: “We are killing the wrong people, the mid-level Taliban who are only fighting us because we are in their valleys. If we were not there, they would not be fighting the U.S.”

As details of programs like Penny Lane and GRS tumble out into the open, shedding light on how the CIA has fought its secret war, it is becoming clearer that the full story of the Agency’s failures, and the larger failures of U.S. intelligence and its paramilitarized, privatized sidekicks has yet to be told.

by Pratap Chatterjee, Tomdispatch.com
December 5th, 2013

Find this story at 5 December 2013

Was Spionagefirmen in Deutschland für die USA treiben

Die US-Geheimdienste sammeln so viele Daten, dass sie alleine nicht hinterherkommen. Deswegen mieten sie Zusatzkräfte bei privaten Dienstleistern. Die arbeiten wie Spione – auch in Deutschland.

Ein einfacher Miet-Hacker kostet die US-Regierung 117,99 Dollar die Stunde. Sollte er noch etwas mehr können – die US-Firma MacAulay Brown bewirbt auf ihrer Internetseite Computerspezialisten von “Level 1” bis “Level 4” -, dann wird es teurer: bis zu 187,30 Dollar die Stunde. Und das sind schon die reduzierten Preise für Regierungsaufträge, heißt es in einem Prospekt im Internet (hier als PDF).

Die USA spionieren auf der ganzen Welt, und der Staat allein kommt nicht mehr hinterher, alle Informationen zu verarbeiten. Deswegen setzen Militär und Geheimdienste auf private Firmen, die ihnen zuliefern, auf sogenannte Contractors. Ein Milliardenmarkt. Große Konzerne wie CSC, L-3 Communications, SAIC und Booz Allen Hamilton haben Zehntausende Mitarbeiter. Die Firmen pflegen die Computer der US-Truppen, warten die Datenbanken der Geheimdienste, sortieren Unterlagen. Und manchmal schicken sie “Analysten”: Mitarbeiter, die die nackten Informationen der Geheimdienste für Einsatzbesprechungen zusammenfassen. Alle wichtigen Contractors haben auch Aufträge in Deutschland.
Datenbank-Recherche
Alle Geheimdienst-Aufträge an Privatfirmen in Deutschland

Was treiben die USA in Deutschland? Antworten finden sich auch in einer offiziellen US-Datenbank. Hier finden Sie alle Verträge für Geheimdienstarbeiten in Deutschland.

Die Bundesrepublik ist einer der wichtigsten Stützpunkte der USA, allein im Fiskaljahr 2012 haben sie hier drei Milliarden Dollar ausgegeben. Mehr als im Irak, und auch mehr als in Südkorea – wo die US-Armee tatsächlich einem Feind im Norden gegenübersteht. Von Deutschland aus kämpfen die USA gegen einen Feind, der weit weg ist: Wenn in Somalia US-Drohnen vermeintliche Terroristen beschießen, läuft das über Stuttgart, wo das Hauptquartier für US-Afrika-Missionen sitzt. Auch im Drohnenkrieg sind private Firmen beteiligt, deren Mitarbeiter warten die Fluggeräte, sie kalibrieren die Laser, sie sammeln die Informationen zur Zielerfassung.

Den größten Umsatz mit Analysten auf deutschem Boden verbucht die Firma SOS International, kurz SOSi, an die bislang 61 Millionen Dollar geflossen sind – so steht es in der US-Datenbank für Staatsaufträge. Gerade sucht SOSi neue Mitarbeiter für den Standort Darmstadt. Es geht um die Auswertung von Geo-Daten: Wer ist wann wo? Auf welcher Straße fährt der Mensch in Somalia, der vielleicht ein Terrorist ist, immer abends nach Hause? Informationen, die für tödliche Drohnenschläge verwendet werden können. Geospatial-Analysten verwandeln die Signale der Satelliten in bunte Bilder – und finden darin die Zielperson. Die Konsequenzen zieht der US-Militärapparat.
(Foto: Screenshot exelisvis.com)

Wie sehr die USA in Deutschland auf die privaten Helfer setzen, zeigt ein Auftrag an die Firma Caci aus dem Jahr 2009. Der US-Konzern bekam fast 40 Millionen Dollar, um SIGINT-Analysten nach Deutschland zu schicken. SIGINT steht für Signals Intelligence: Informationen, die Geheimdienste im Internet gesammelt haben. Dabei ist Caci nicht irgendein Unternehmen. Ihre Mitarbeiter waren 2003 als Befrager im US-Gefängnis Abu Ghraib im Irak eingesetzt, aus dem später die Bilder eines Folterskandals um die Welt gingen: Nackte Häftlinge, aufgestapelt zu menschlichen Pyramiden, angeleint wie Hunde und selbst nach ihrem Tod noch misshandelt – fotografiert von grinsenden US-Soldaten und ihren Helfern. Zwei Untersuchungsberichte der US-Armee kamen später zu dem Schluss, dass Caci-Leute an Misshandlungen beteiligt waren. Caci bestreitet das.

Die Episode zeigt: Die Contractors stecken tief drin in Amerikas schmutzigen Kriegen. Jeder fünfte Geheimdienstmitarbeiter ist in Wahrheit bei einer privaten Firma angestellt. Das geht aus den geheimen Budgetplänen der US-Geheimdienste hervor, die dank des Whistleblowers Edward Snowden öffentlich wurden. Snowden ist der wohl berühmteste Ex-Angestellte eines Contractors, bis Juni arbeitete er als Systemadministrator für Booz Allen Hamilton. Der Konzern übernimmt viele IT-Jobs für US-Behörden, so hatte Snowden Zugriff auf hochsensible Unterlagen, die streng geheime Operationen von amerikanischen und britischen Geheimdiensten belegen – obwohl er nicht einmal direkt bei einem US-Geheimdienst arbeitete. Viele Contractors haben Zugriff auf das Allerheiligste. Auf die vom Geheimdienst gesammelten Daten, und auf die interne Kommunikation.

Genau diese Aufgaben sorgen auch für hohe Umsätze in Deutschland. Caci und der Konkurrent SAIC haben zusammen hierzulande in den vergangenen Jahren Hunderte Millionen Dollar umgesetzt. Der Konzern suchte noch vor Kurzem in Stellenausschreibungen Entwickler für das Programm XKeyscore. Nachdem der Guardian enthüllt hatte, dass der US-Geheimdienst NSA damit Bewegungen im Internet von E-Mails bis Facebook-Chats live verfolgen kann, gingen die Gesuche offline. Eine SAIC-Sprecherin betonte, dieses Geschäft sei in dem im September abgespaltenen Unternehmen Leidos aufgegangen. Weitere Fragen ließ sie unbeantwortet.

Die CIA beteiligt sich sogar über eine eigene Investmentfirma names In-Q-Tel an Start-ups, um später deren Technologie nutzen zu können. Auch personell sind die beiden Welten verbunden: Der oberste US-Geheimdienstdirektor James R. Clapper war erst Chef des Militärgeheimdienstes DIA, dann beim Contractor Booz Allen Hamilton und kehrte schließlich in den Staatsdienst zurück – er soll die Arbeit aller US-Nachrichtendienste koordinieren. Arbeit, die oft privatisiert wird, wovon Unternehmen wie sein ehemaliger Arbeitgeber profitieren.

Die Beziehungen zwischen Privatfirmen und dem Staat sind so eng, dass Contractors Büros in US-Militärbasen beziehen. Für MacAulay Brown saß bis vor einem Jahr ein Mitarbeiter auf dem Gelände des Dagger-Complexes in Griesheim. Der Standort gilt als Brückenkopf der NSA. Der Mitarbeiter von MacAulay Brown hatte die gleiche Telefonnummer wie die dort stationierten Truppen und eine eigene Durchwahl. Als gehörte er dazu.
Ein Soldat vor einer sogenannten “Shadow”-Drohne in der US-Basis in Vilseck-Grafenwöhr (Foto: REUTERS)

16. November 2013 11:31 Amerikanische Auftragnehmer
Von Bastian Brinkmann,Oliver Hollenstein und Antonius Kempmann

Find this story at 16 November 2013

Copyright: Süddeutsche Zeitung Digitale Medien GmbH / Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH

Outsourcing NSA, THE NEOCON POWER GRAB AT NSA AND AN ATTEMPT TO STIFLE THE PRESS (2005)

In the past year, I have been threatened with a libel suit in London from a rich Saudi billionaire whose Washington-based law firm just so happens to have a former Bush-Cheney campaign finance chairman and one of George W. Bush’s closest Texas pals as two of its major partners. I have earned the attention of an Orwellian Ministry of Truth-like “counter-propaganda” office at the U.S. Department of State, which maintains a web site that criticizes my articles. It is against U.S. law for the International Public Diplomacy unit to directly respond to my counter-arguments, they can only legally respond to foreign queries and not from U.S. citizen journalists who they cavalierly attack. Apparently, the White House and some officials in the U.S. intelligence community have found it necessary to suppress from publication my book on corruption in the oil industry and defense contracting community. I have now been threatened by the company CACI International, which, according to the Taguba Report, was involved in the prison torture at Abu Ghraib. The threat was based on a very and important story concerning contract fraud and corruption at the super secret National Security Agency (NSA) — America’s premier electronic surveillance body.

Unlike Newsweek, CBS News and 60 Minutes, and the Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio, I do not intend to allow the friends of Bush and the globally-despised U.S. military intelligence complex to stymie my right to report on the graft and corruption and the steady move toward fascism from my vantage point inside the Washington Beltway. To George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, CACI (and its law firm Steptoe & Johnson), and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and its Bush buddies and Saudi paymasters, I have one simple admonition: “Go to Hell.”

And to show that I mean business, I will soon establish a web site called the Wayne Madsen Report that will expose the bottom dwelling vermin now infesting our body politic. In the finest tradition of H. L. Mencken, Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson, Edward R. Murrow and other hard hitting members of the Fourth Estate, I have a simple warning: if you hold political office or another responsible position in this three degrees of separation town called Washington and you steal taxpayer’s money, hypocritically proclaim born-again Christianity and then go out and beat up a female prostitute or call a gay male prostitute hot line, get busted for public urination on Capitol Hill, or engage in disloyal behavior against the United States, you can be sure your name and your activities will be featured on the web site. You will be held accountable — it’s as simple as that. You may not have to worry about The Washington Post or CNN, but you will have to contend with me.

And for Federal law enforcement officials who find it proper or exciting to subpoena journalists’ notebooks and require testimony before grand juries, forget about me. I won’t play your political games. I’ll gladly go to prison rather than subject myself and my sources to interrogations from a neocon fascist regime.

***************

Now more on what is happening at NSA and how it is adversely affecting U.S. national security. On August 1, 2001, just five and a half weeks before the 911 attacks, NSA awarded Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) a more than $2 billion, ten-year contract known as GROUNDBREAKER. The contract was never popular with NSA’s career professionals. Although GROUNDBREAKER was limited to outsourcing NSA’s administrative support functions such as telephones, data networks, distributed computing, and enterprise architecture design, the contract soon expanded into the operational areas — a sphere that had always been carefully restricted to contractors. NSA was once worried about buying commercial-off-the-shelf computer components such as semiconductors because they might contain foreign bugs. NSA manufactured its own computer chips at its own semiconductor factory at Fort Meade. Currently, NSA personnel are concerned that outsourcing mania at Fort Meade will soon involve foreign help desk technical maintenance provided from off-shore locations like India.

CSC had originally gained access to NSA through a “buy in” project called BREAKTHROUGH, a mere $20 million contract awarded in 1998 that permitted CSC to operate and maintain NSA computer systems. When General Michael V. Hayden took over as NSA Director in 1999, the floodgates for outside contractors were opened and a resulting deluge saw most of NSA’s support personnel being converted to contractors working for GROUNDBREAKER’s Eagle Alliance (nicknamed the “Evil Alliance” by NSA government personnel), a consortium led by CSC. NSA personnel rosters of support personnel, considered protected information, were turned over to Eagle, which then made offers of employment to the affected NSA workers. The Eagle Alliance consists of CSC, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, CACI, Omen, Inc., Keane Federal Systems, ACS Defense, BTG, Compaq, Fiber Plus, Superior Communications, TRW (Raytheon), Verizon, and Windemere.

In October 2002, Hayden, who has now been promoted by Bush to be Deputy Director of National Intelligence under John Negroponte, opened NSA up further to contractors. A Digital Network Enterprise (DNE) team led by SAIC won a $280 million, 26 month contract called TRAILBLAZER to develop a demonstration test bed for a new signals intelligence processing and analysis system. SAIC’s team members included Booz Allen Hamilton, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Eagle Alliance team leader CSC. TRAILBLAZER, according to Hayden’s own testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is now behind schedule and over budget to the tune of over $600 million.

But that is not the only consequence of these two mega-contracts for NSA’s ability to monitor global communications for the next 911, which could be a terrorist nuclear strike on the United States.

NSA insiders report that both contract teams have melded into one and that NSA’s operations are being adversely impacted. From simple tasks like phones being fixed to computers being updated with new software, the Eagle Alliance has been a disaster. The Eagle Alliance and DNE team members are rife with former NSA top officials who are reaping handsome bonuses from the contracts — and that has many NSA career employees crying conflict of interest and contract fraud.

CACI, called “Colonels and Captains, Inc.” by critics who cite the revolving door from the Pentagon to its corporate office suites, counts former NSA Deputy Director Barbara McNamara as a member of its board of directors. CACI alumni include Thomas McDermott, a former NSA Deputy Director for Information Systems Security. Former NSA Director Adm. Mike McConnell is a Senior Vice President of Booz Allen. Former NSA Director General Ken Minihan is President of the Security Affairs Support Association (SASA), an intelligence business development association that includes Boeing, Booz Allen, CACI, CSC, the Eagle Alliance, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, SAIC, and Windemere, all GROUNDBREAKER and TRAILBLAZER contractors, among its membership. SASA’s board of directors (surprise, surprise) includes CACI’s Barbara McNamara. One of SASA’s distinguished advisers is none other than General Hayden.

Although contractors are required to have the same high level security clearances as government personnel at NSA, there are close connections between some NSA contractors and countries with hostile intelligence services. For example, CACI’s president and CEO visited Israel in early 2004 and received the Albert Einstein Technology Award at ceremony in Jerusalem attended by Likud Party Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. The special ceremony honoring CACI’s president was sponsored by the Aish HaTorah Yeshiva Fund. The ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism Party’s Jerusalem Mayor, Uri Lupolianski, was also in attendance. According to Lebanon’s Daily Star, CACI’s president also met with notorious racist Israeli retired General Effie Eitam who advocates expelling Palestinians from their lands. The U.S. delegation also included a number of homeland security officials, politicians, and businessmen. CACI has also received research grants from U.S.-Israeli bi-national foundations. A few months after the award ceremony for CACI’s president, the Taguba Report cited two CACI employees as being involved in the prison torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The U.S. military commander for the Iraqi prisons, General Janis Karpinski, reported that she witnessed Israeli interrogators working alongside those from CACI and another contractor, Titan.

When the Taguba Report was leaked, the office of Deputy Defense Secretary for Policy Douglas Feith issued an order to Pentagon employees not to download the report from the Internet. Feith is a well-known hard line supporter of Israel’s Likud Party and, according to U.S. government insiders, his name has come up in FBI wiretaps of individuals involved in the proliferation of nuclear weapons material to Israel via Turkish (including Turkish Jewish) intermediaries. These wiretaps are the subject of a Federal probe of who compromised a sensitive CIA counter-proliferation global operation that used a carve out company called Brewster Jennings & Associates to penetrate nuclear weapons smuggling networks with tentacles extending from Secaucus, New Jersey to South Africa and Pakistan and Turkey to Israel.

According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, some six months before the Abu Ghraib torture scandal was first uncovered, one of Feith’s assistants, Larry Franklin, met with two officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) at the Tivoli Restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. According to FBI surveillance tapes, Franklin relayed top secret information to Steve Rosen, AIPAC’s then policy director, and Keith Weissman, a senior Iran analyst with AIPAC. Franklin has been indicted for passing classified information to AIPAC. In addition, three Israeli citizens have been identified as possible participants in the spy scandal. They are Naor Gilon, the political officer at the Israeli embassy in Washington; Uzi Arad, an analyst with the Institute for Policy and Strategy in Herzliya (the northern Tel Aviv suburb where the headquarters of Mossad is located); and Eran Lerman, a former Mossad official who is now with the American Jewish Committee.

What has some NSA officials worried is that with pro-Israeli neocons now engrained within the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), State Department, and National Security Council, NSA is ripe for penetration by Israeli intelligence. NSA has a troubled past with Israel. In 1967, Israeli warplanes launched a premeditated attack on the NSA surveillance ship, the USS Liberty, killing and wounding a number of U.S. sailors and NSA civilian personnel. Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard compromised a number of NSA sensitive sources and methods when he provided a garage full of classified documents to Israel. But NSA is also aware of an incident where Israelis used a contractor, RCA, to gain access to yet additional NSA sources and methods. In the 1980s, against the wishes of NSA, the Reagan administration forced NSA to permit RCA, one of its major contractors, to develop a tethered aerostat (balloon) signals intelligence and direction finding system for the Israeli Defense Force. According to NSA officials, the Israeli-NSA joint project, codenamed DINDI, was established at a separate facility in Mount Laurel, New Jersey and apart from the main NSA developmental center at RCA’s facility in Camden, New Jersey. Although NSA and RCA set up a strict firewall between the contractor’s national intelligence contract work and the separate DINDI contract, Israeli engineers, who were working for Mossad, soon broke down the security firewall with the assistance of a few American Jewish engineers assigned to the DINDI project. The security breach resulted in a number of national intelligence developmental systems being compromised to the Israelis, including those code named PIEREX, MAROON ARCHER, and MAROON SHIELD. DINDI was quickly cancelled but due to the sensitivity surrounding the American Jewish engineers, the Reagan Justice Department avoided bringing espionage charges. There were some forced retirements and transfers, but little more. But for NSA, the duplicity of the Israelis added to the enmity between Fort Meade and Israeli intelligence.

With outside contractors now permeating NSA and a major Israeli espionage operation being discovered inside the Pentagon, once again there is a fear within NSA that foreign intelligence services such as the Mossad could make another attempt to penetrate America’s virtual “Fort Knox” of intelligence treasures and secrets.

Thanks to some very patriotic and loyal Americans inside NSA, this author is now in possession of an internal NSA contract document from November 2002 that shows how GROUNDBREAKER and TRAILBLAZER have allowed the Eagle Alliance and other contractors to gain access to and even virtual control over some of the most sensitive systems within the U.S. intelligence community. One suspect in this unchecked outsourcing is the person Hayden hired from the outside to act as Special Adviser to his Executive Leadership Team, Beverly Wright, who had been the Chief Financial Officer for Legg Mason Wood Walker in Baltimore. Before that, Wright had been the Chief Financial Officer for Alex Brown, the investment firm at which George W. Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, once served as a board member. As one senior NSA official sarcastically put it, “She’s highly qualified to work in intelligence!”

According to the document, the future of some 10,000 Windows NT and UNIX workstations and servers that handle some of NSA’s most sensitive signals intelligence (SIGINT) (the Signals Intelligence Directorate workstation upgrade is code named BEANSTALK) and electronics intelligence (ELINT) applications, including databases that contain communications intercepts, are now firmly in the grasp of the Eagle Alliance. Operational workstations are being migrated to a less-than-reliable Windows/Intel or “WINTEL” environment. The document boldly calls for the Eagle Alliance to establish a SIGINT Service Applications Office (SASO) to “provide and maintain Information Technology services, tools, and capabilities for all [emphasis added] SIGINT mission applications at the NSA.” This is a far cry from the non-operational administrative support functions originally specified in the GROUNDBREAKER contract.

The document also calls for NSA to provide extremely sensitive information on SIGINT users to the contractors: “Identification of target sets of users in order to successfully coordinate with the Eagle Alliance modernization program.” The Eagle Alliance is involved in a number of systems that impact on other members of the U.S. intelligence community, foreign SIGINT partners, and national command authorities. These systems include INTELINK, Common Remoted Systems, National SIGINT Requirements Process, Overhead Tasking Distribution, RSOC (Regional SIGINT Operations Center) Monitoring Tool, RSOC Modeling Tool, Speech Activity Detection, Network Analysis Tools, Network Reconstruction Tools, Advanced Speech Processing Services, Automatic Message Handling System, CRITIC Alert, Cross Agency Multimedia Database Querying, Message Format Converter, Central Strategic Processing and Reporting, Collection Knowledge Base, Language Knowledge Base and Capabilities, K2000 Advanced ELINT Signals, Speech Content Services, Speech Information Extraction, Dominant Facsimile Processing System and DEFSMAC Support, Data Delivery (TINMAN), High Frequency Direction Finding (HFDF) Database, Satellite database, Protocol Analysis Terminal, Global Numbering Database, Intercept Tasking Databases, DEFSMAC Space Systems Utilities, Message Server, Extended Tether Program, Language Knowledge Services, Trend Analysis in Data Streams, Signal Related Database, SANDKEY Support (SIGINT Analysis and Reporting), and the SIGINT interception database ANCHORY and the ELINT database WRANGLER. In fact, the document states that the contractors’ plans foresee the inclusion of NSA’s intelligence community partners (foreign and domestic) in the contractors’ revamping of NSA’s operational systems.

The servers include those that support mission-critical National Time Sensitive Systems (NTSS). These National Time Sensitive System servers have been assigned various cover terms:

CANUCKS
DOLLAR
EASTCAKE
HEALYCUFF
MUDDYSWELT
NEEDYWHAT
RIMTITLE
RISKDIME
ROWLOAD
SEAWATER
CURACAO
HALF
HEALYMINK
LEARNGILT
LINEFURL
MOBLOOSE
SPELLBEAK
THOSEHOT

A number of SIGINT applications are also impacted by the outsourcing mania. They are also assigned cover terms:

ADVERSARY
ADVERSARY GOLD
CHECKMATE
FANBELT
FANBELT II
FIREBLAZE
GALE-LITE (the primary owner of which is DIA)
GALLEYMAN
GALLEYPROOF
JAGUAR
KAFFS
MAGNIFORM
MAINCHANCE
OILSTOCK
PATHSETTER
PINSETTER
SIGDASYS FILE II, III, and KL
TEXTA SPOT

In fact, the document indicates that literally hundreds of NSA intelligence applications are now subject to the whims of outside contractors. These systems include

ABEYANCE, ACROPOLIS, ADROIT, ADVANTAGE, AGILITY, AIRLINE, AIRMAIL, ALERT, ALCHEMIST, ANTARES, APPLEWOOD II, ARCHIVER, ARCVIEW GIS, ARROWGATE, ARROWWOOD, ARTFUL, ASPEN, ASSOCIATION, ATOMICRAFT, ATTRACTION, AUTOPILOT, AUTOSTAR, AXIOMATIC

BABBLEQUEST, BACKSAW, BANYAN, BARAD, BASERUNNER, BEAMER, BEIKAO, BELLVIEW, BIRDSNEST, BISON, BLACKBIRD, BLACKBOOK, BLACKFIN, BLACKHAWK, BLACKNIGHT/SHIPMASTER, BLACKMAGIC, BLACKONYX, BLACKOPAL, BLACKSEA, BLACKSHACK, BLACKSHIRT, BLACKSMYTH, BLACKSNAKE, BLACKSPIDER, BLACKSTAR, BLACKSTORM, BLACKSTRIKE, BLACKWATCH PULL, BLOODHUNTER, BLACKSWORD, BLOSSOM, BLUEBERRY, BLUESKY, BLUESTREAM, BOTTOM, BOTTOMLINE, BOWHUNT, BRAILLEWRITER, BRICKLOCK, BRIGHTENER, BROADWAY, BRIO INSIGHT, BUCKFEVER, BUILDINGCODE, BULK, BUMPER

CADENCE, CAINOTOPHOBIA, CALLIOPE, CALVIN, CANDID, CANDELIGHTER, CANDLESTICK, CAPRICORN, CARNIVAL, CARRAGEEN, CARTOGRAPHER, CAT, CATCOVE, CELLBLOCK, CELTIC II, CELTIC CROSS, CENTERBOARD, CENTERCOIL, CENTERPOINT, CENTRALIST, CERCIS, CHAGRIN, CHAMELEON, CHAMITE, CHAPELVIEW, CHARIOT, CHARMANDER, CHARTS, CHATEAU, CHECKMATE, CHECKWEAVE, CHERRYLAMBIC, CHEWSTICK, CHICKENOFF, CHILLFLAME, CHIMERA, CHIPBOARD, CHUJING, CIVORG, CHUCKLE, CLEANSLATE, CLIPS, CLOSEREEF I, CLOUDBURST, CLOUDCOVER, CLOUDCOVER II, CLUBMAN, COASTLINE, COASTLINE COMPASSPOINT, CLIENT, CODEFINDER, COMMONVIEW, CONCERTO, CONDENSOR, CONESTOGA, CONFRONT, CONTRIVER, CONUNDRUM, CONVEYANCE, COPPERHEAD, CORESPACE, CORTEZ, COUNTERSINK, COUNTERSPY, CRAZYTRAIN, CRISSCROSS, CRUISESHIP, CRYSTALLIZE, CYBERENGINE, CYGNUS

DAFIF, DANCEHALL, DARKSHROUD, DATATANK, DAYPUL, DAZZLER, DEATHRAY, DECOMA, DELTAWING, DEPTHGAUGE, DESERTFOX, DESOTO, DESPERADO, DIALOG, DIAMONDCHIP, DIFFRACTION, DISPLAYLINE, DITCHDIGGER, DITTO/UNDITTO, DIVINATION, DOITREE, DOLLARFISH, DOUBLEVISION, DRAGONMAKER, DUALIST

EAGERNESS, EAGLESTONE, EASYRIDER, ECTOPLASM, ELATION, ELECTRIFY, ELTON, ELEVATOR, EMPERORFISH, ENCAPSULATE, ENGRAFT, ETCHINGNEEDLE, EXPATRIATE, EXPERTPLAYER, EXTENDER, EXTRACTOR, EUREKA, EYELET

FAIRHILL, FAIRVIEW, FALCONRY, FALLOWHAUNT, FANATIC, FANCINESS, FASCIA II, FATFREE, FENESTRA, FIESTA, FINECOMB, FIREBOLT, FINETUNE, FIREBRAND II, FIRELAKE, FIRERUNG, FIRETOWER, FIRSTVIEW, FISHERMAN, FISHINGBOAT, FISHWAY, FLAGHOIST (OCS), FLASHFORWARD, FLEXAGON, FLEXMUX, FLEXSTART, FLIP, FLOTSAM, FOLKART, FORESITE, FORTITUDE, FOURSCORE, FOXFUR, FPGA GSM ATTACK, FIRSTPOINT, FARMHOUSE, FLODAR, FLOVIEW, FOSSIK, FROZENTUNDRA, FREESTONE, FRENZY/GRANULE, FUSEDPULL

GALAXYDUST, GARDENVIEW, GATCHWORK, GATOR, GAUNTLET, GAYFEATHER, GAZELLE, GEMTRAIL, GENED, GHOSTVIEW, GHOSTWIRE, GIGACOPE, GIGASCOPE B, GISTER, GIVE, GLIDEPLANE, GOLDVEIN, GOLDPOINT, GNATCATCHER-GRADUS, GOKART, GOLDENEYE, GOLDENFLAX, GOLDENPERCH, GOLDMINE, GOMBROON, GOTHAM, GRADIENT, GRANDMASTER, GRAPEANGLE, GRAPEVINE, GRAPHWORK, GREATHALL, GREENHOUSE, GREMLIN, GUARDDOG, GUIDETOWER

HACKER, HABANERO, HAMBURGER, HAMMER, HARPSTRING, HARVESTER, HARVESTTIME, HEARTLAND II, HEARTLAND III, HEDGEHOG, HELMET II, HELMET III, HERONPOND, HIGHPOWER, HIGHTIDE, HILLBILLY BRIDE, HIPPIE, HOBBIN, HOKUSAI, HOMBRE, HOMEBASE, HOODEDVIPER, HOODQUERY, HOPPER, HOST, HORIZON, HOTSPOT, HOTZONE, HOUSELEEK/SPAREROOF, HYPERLITE, HYPERWIDE

ICARUS, ICICLE, IMAGERY, INFOCOMPASS, INNOVATOR, INQUISITOR, INROAD, INSPIRATION, INTEGRA, INTERIM, INTERNIST, INTERSTATE, INTRAHELP, IOWA, ISLANDER, IVORY ROSE, IVORY SNOW

JABSUM, JACAMAR, JADEFALCON, JARGON, JARKMAN, JASPERRED, JAZZ, JEALOUSFLASH, JEWELHEIST, JOVIAL, JOBBER INCOMING, JOSY, JUMBLEDPET, JUPITER

KAHALA, KAINITE, KEBBIE, KEELSON, KEEPTOWER, KEYCARD, KEYMASTER, KEYS, KEYSTONE WEB, KINGCRAFT, KINGLESS, KINSFOLK, KLASHES, KLOPPER, KNOSSOS, KRYPTONITE

LADYSHIP, LAKESIDE, LAKEVIEW, LAMPSHADE, LAMPWICK, LARGO, LASERDOME, LASERSHIP, LASTEFFORT, LATENTHEART, LATENTHEAT, LEGAL REPTILE, LETHALPAN, LIBERTY WALK, LIGHTNING, LIGHTSWITCH, LINKAGE, LIONFEED, LIONHEART, LIONROAR, LIONWATCH, LOAD, LOCKSTOCK, LOGBOOK, LONGROOT, LUMINARY

MACEMAN, MACHISMO, MADONNA, MAESTRO, MAGENTA II, MAGIC BELT, MAGICSKY, MAGISTRAND, MAGYK, MAKAH, MAINWAY, MARINER II, MARKETSQUARE, MARLIN, MARSUPIAL, MARTES, MASTERCLASS, MASTERSHIP, MASTERSHIP II, MASTING, MATCHLITE, MAUI, MAVERICK, MECA, MEDIASTORM, MEDIATOR, MEDIEVAL, MEGAMOUSE, MEGASCOPE, MEGASTAR, MERSHIP (CARILLON), MESSIAH, MICOM, MIGHTYMAIL, MILLANG, MONITOR, MONOCLE, MOONDANCE, MOONFOX, MOORHAWK, MORETOWN, MOSTWANTED, MOVIETONE III, MUSICHALL, MUSTANG, MYTHOLOGY

NABOBS, NATIONHOOD, NAUTILUS, NDAKLEDIT, NEMESIS, NERVETRUNK, NETGRAPH, NEWSBREAK, NEWSHOUND, NEXUS, NIGHTFALL 16, NIGHTFALL 32, NIGHTWATCH, NOBLEQUEST, NOBLESPIRIT, NOBLEVISION, NSOC SHIFTER, NUCLEON, NUMERIC

OAKSMITH, OBLIGATOR, OCEANARIUM, OCEANFRONT, OCTAGON, OCTAVE, OFFSHOOT, OLYMPIAD, ONEROOF, ONEROOF-WORD 2000 TRANSCRIPTION, OPALSCORE, OPENSEARCH, OPERA, ORCHID, ORIANA, OUTERBANKS, OUTFLASH, OUTREACH

PADDOCK, PACESETTER, PALINDROME, PAPERHANGER II, PARTHENON, PARTHENON II, PASSBACK, PASTURE, PATCHING, PATHFINDER, PATRIARCH, PAYMASTER, PAYTON, PEDDLER, PEARLWARE, PERFECTO, PERSEUS, PERSEVERE, PICKET, PINWALE, PIEREX, PILEHAMMER, PINNACLE, PINSTRIPE, PITONS, PIXIEDUST, PIZARRO, PLATINUM PLUS, PLATINUMRING, PLUMMER, PLUS, PLUTO, POLARFRONT, POLYSTYRENE, POPPYBASE, POPTOP, PORCELAIN, PORTCULLIS, POSTCARD, POWDERKEG, POWERPLANT, PRAIRIE DOG, PRANKSTER, PREDATOR, PRELUDE, PROSCAN, PROSPERITY, PRIZEWINNER, PROPELLER, PROTOVIEW, PUFFERFISH, PYTHON II

QUARTERBACK, QUASAR, QUEST, QUICKER, QUICKSILVER

RAGBOLT, RAINGAUGE, RAINMAN, RAKERTOOTH, RAMJET, RAP, RAPPEL, RAUCOVER, REACTANT, RECEPTOR, RECOGNITION, RED ARMY, RED BACK, RED BELLY, RED DAWN, RED DEMON, RED ROOSTER, RED ROVER, REDALERT, REDCAP, REDCENT, REDCOATS, REDMENACE, REDSEA, REDSTORM, REDZONE, RELAYER, RENEGADE, RENOIR, RIGEL LIBRARY, RIKER, RIMA, ROADBED, ROADTURN, ROCKDOVE, ROOFTOP, ROOTBEER, ROSEVINE, RUTLEY

SAGACITY, SANDSAILOR, SASPLOT, SATINWOOD, SATURN, SAYA, SCANNER, SEALION, SEAPLUM, SCISSORS, SCREENWORK, SEABEACH II, SEARCHLIGHT, SELLERS, SEMITONE, SENIOR GLASS, SENTINEL, SHADOWBOXER, SHADOWCHASER, SHANTY, SHARK, SHARKBITE, SHARKKNIFE, SHARPSHOOTER, SHILLET, SHILOH, SHIPMASTER, SHORTSWING, SIDEMIRROR, SIGHTREADY, SIGNATURE, SILKRUG, SILVERFISH, SILVERHOOK, SILVERLINER, SILVERVINE, SINGLEPOINT, SINGLESHOT, SITA, SKEPTIC, SKILLFUL, SKYBOARD, SKYCAST, SKYGAZER, SKYLINE, SKYLOFT, SKYWRITER, SLAMDANCE, SLATEWRITER, SLIDESHOW, SMOKEPPIT, SNAKEBOOT, SNAKECHARMER, SNAKEDANCE II, SNAKERANCH II, SNORKEL, SNOWMAN, SOAPOPERA, SOAPSHELL, SOFTBOUND, SOFTRING, SORCERY, SPANISH MOSS, SPARKVOYAGE, SPEARHEAD, SPECOL, SPECTAR, SPIROGRAPH, SPLINTER, SPLITTER, SPORADIC, SPOTBEAM, SPRINGRAY, SPUDLITE, STAIRWAY, STAR SAPPHIRE, STARCICLE, STARGLORY, STARLOG, STARQUAKE, STARSWORD, STATIONMASTER, STEAKHOUSE, STELLAH, STONEGATE, STORMCHASER, STORMPEAK, STOWAWAY, STRONGHOLD, SUBSHELL, SUNDIAL, SUPERCODING, SURREY, SWEETDREAM, SWEETTALK, SWEEPINGCHANGE, SWITCHPOINT

TABLELAMP, TALION, TANGOR, TAROTCARD, TARP, TARSIS, TART, TAXIDRIVER, TEAS, TECBIRD, TEL, TELE, TELESTO, TELLTALE, TELLURITE, TEMAR, TERMINAL VELOCITY, THINKCHEW, THINTHREAD, THUNDERWEB, TIDYTIPS III, TIEBREAKER, TIGER, TIMELINE, TIMEPIECE, TIMETRAVELER, TINKERTOY, TINSEL, TIPPIE, TOPSHELF, TOPSPIN II, TOPVIEW, TRACECHAIN, TRAILBLAZER, TRBUSTER, TREASURE, TREASURE TROVE, TRED, TRIFECTA, TRINFO, TRINIAN, TROLLEYTRACK, TROLLEYMASTER, TRUNK MOBILE, TRYSTER, TSUNAMI, TWILIGHT, TWOBIT

UMORPH, UNLIMITED

VIEWEXCHANGE, VEILED DATABASE, VEILED FORTHCOMING, VENTURER II, VICTORY DAEMON, VINTAGE HARVEST, VIOLATION, VISIONARY, VISIONQUEST, VOICECAST, VOICESAIL, VOIP SEED

WARGODDESS, WARSTOCK, WATCHOUT, WAXFLOWER, WAYLAND, WEALTHYCLUSTER, WEBSPINNER, WEBSPINNER — ACCESS TO DBS, WESTRICK, WHARFMAN II, WHITE SEA, WHIRLPOOL, WHITE SHARK, WHITE SWORD, WHITESAIL, WHITEWASH, WILDFIRE, WINDSHIELD, WINTERFEED, WIREDART, WIREWEED, WORLDWIDE, WIZARDRY, WOLFPACK, WRAPUP

XVTUBA

YELLOWSTONE, YETLING

ZENTOOLS, ZIGZAG, and ZIRCON

24 May 2005
By Wayne Madsen

Find this story at 24 May 2005

Defense Contractors Cyber Expertise Behind ‘PRISM’ And ‘Boundless Informant’

A string of U.S. and international defense contractors helped in developing the now infamous ‘PRISM’ and ‘Boundless Informant’ systems that spy’s on American and international internet and telephone traffic.

Defenseworld.net took a close look at the contractors which supplied equipment and expertise to the U.S. National Security Administration (NSA) to help develop the all-pervasive spying technology.

Among the NSA’s top contractors are Booz Allen Hamilton thanks to its wide range of intelligence and surveillance expertise. Another top contractor heavily involved with the NSA is SAIC. Of its 42,000 employees, more than 20,000 hold U.S. government security clearances, making it one of the largest private intelligence services in the world, according to U.S. media reports.

“SAIC provides a full suite of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and cybersecurity solutions across a broad spectrum of national security programs,” it says on its website.

Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and, CACI International act as the NSA’s SIGINT analysis team making them integral to ISR projects. “SIGINT involves collecting foreign intelligence from communications and information systems and providing it to customers across the U.S. government, such as senior civilian and military officials,” according to the NSA website.

“NSA/CSS collects SIGINT from various sources, including foreign communications, radar and other electronic systems.” Most recently, BAE Systems announced that its experts will provide architecture, installation and administration for a complex networking environment that supports multiple network enclaves and high-speed datacenter access.

“BAE Systems’ Intelligence & Security manages big data, informs big decisions, and supports big missions. BAE Systems delivers a broad range of services including IT, cybersecurity and intelligence analysis to enable the U.S. military and government to recognize, manage and defeat threats,” according to a company statement.

Northrop Grumman, CACI International and Raytheon all boast an impressive array of ISR capabilities. Northrop Grumman has recently bagged several IT contracts from the NSA including a Cloud-Based Cyber Security Contract in 2012 to develop, integrate and sustain cloud-based information repositories.

In 2007, the company along with Computer Sciences Corporation was awarded Project Groundbreaker, a $5 billion contract to rebuild and operate the NSA’s “nonmission-critical” internal telephone and computer networking systems.

In managing the project for the NSA, CSC and Logicon created the “Eagle Alliance” consortium that drew in practically every major company involved in defense and intelligence outsourcing. Subcontractors included General Dynamics, BAE Systems, Titan Corp. (now L-3 Communications Inc.), CACI International, TRW (now part of Northrop Grumman), Mantech, Lockheed Martin, and Verizon (one of the companies that allegedly granted the NSA access to its consumer database under the Terrorist Surveillance Program), as well as Dell Computers, Hewlett-Packard, and Nortel Networks.

Earlier last year, Northrop Grumman and DRS Technologies won a $67 million NATO contract for cybersecurity and computer management services. Northrop said the team will implement a computer incident response capability for 50 NATO websites in 28 countries from cyber threats and vulnerabilities.

The same year, it was revealed that the NSA had a Raytheon ‘semi-secret’ technology to protect the nation’s power grid called “Perfect Citizen.” Since a crippling cyber attack in 2010, a 491 million contract was awarded to Raytheon to develop its overall mission.

Virtually all other details about the program are secret, including any information on whether the technology will allow any kind of domestic data collection on citizens. NSA vigorously denies that it will. “Perfect Citizen” would be able to detect cyber assaults on private companies and government agencies running such critical infrastructure as the electricity grid and nuclear-power plants. It would rely on a set of sensors deployed in computer networks for critical infrastructure that would be triggered by unusual activity suggesting an impending cyber attack.

Meanwhile, NATO earlier last month announced plans to set up rapid reaction teams to fight the number of growing cyber-attacks on their military alliances. “In the progress report we have adopted today, we agreed to establish rapid reaction teams that can help protect NATO’s own systems,” alliance head Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. This “cyber-defence capability should be fully operational by the autumn,” Rasmussen told a press conference. “This is a first phase. A second phase would be to look into how the alliance can respond to requests from Allies who come under cyber-attack,” he said.

Operational since 2007, the program codenamed PRISM was intended to monitor foreign communications that take place on US servers. It allowed the NSA to listen in on Skype conversations as long as one person was using a conventional phone. Edward Snowden’s leaked documents revealed that the NSA is monitoring Google products such as Gmail, voice and video chat, file transfers, photos, and a live surveillance of your search terms.

Users of social media and cloud services (such as iCloud, Google Drive and Dropbox) are also being monitored, according to the Washington Post. About one in seven intelligence reports contain data collected by PRISM, according to the leaked documents. PRISM monitors the internet traffic of foreigners, but sweeps up American communicators in the process while the Boundless Information program analyzes and is fed in part by metadata on calls routed through Verizon, and other telecommunications carriers as well.

The telecommunications data mining appears to be both vast and indiscriminate but only collects so-called metadata; that is, data on which phone numbers called which other numbers, how long the calls lasted, the locations where calls were made and received and the like. No conversations have been recorded, so what was said is forever beyond the government’s reach, according to reports.

PRISM is a finer intelligence gathering program but far more invasive.

It can confine not just metadata but the content of communications transmitted via the web, including messages sent and retrieved, uploaded videos et al.

“NSA’s systems environment is a haven for computer scientists, with vast networks able to manipulate and analyze huge volumes of data at mind-boggling speeds,” the agency says on its website.

The NSA and the the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), a British intelligence agency, had hacked Chinese mobile-phone companies to collect millions of text messages and computers in China and Hong Kong for over a four-year period, according to Snowden’s documents.

U.S officials have confirmed they do not know how many documents Snowden took but the enormity of the implication is staggering. China has come out in support of Snowden and even aided him in fleeing from Hong Kong to Moscow saying it will says it will “absolutely not accept” U.S.

charges. Snowden’s passport has been revoked and charged with theft of government property, indicted by the United States for stealing and leaking classified documents.

Source : Bindiya Thomas ~ Dated : Monday, July 1, 2013 @ 01:36 PM

Find this story at 1 July 2013

Defense World © 2012

Washington gunman vetted by same firm behind Snowden checks

USIS, one of the US’s largest security providers, admits to carrying out vetting procedures on Aaron Alexis

Aaron Alexis had been arrested three times before the Navy Yard incident, including two suspected offences involving guns. Photograph: Kristi Suthamtewakul/Reuters

Pressure to overhaul vetting procedures for US government contractors grew on Thursday after one of the largest US security providers admitted that it carried out background checks on Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis.

USIS, a Virginia-based company owned by private equity group Providence, had previously denied conducting background investigations into Alexis, according to a report by Bloomberg. Alexis had been arrested three times, including two suspected offences involving guns, although he was not charged or convicted. On Thursday USIS issued a statement in response to mounting questions over how Alexis received the “secret” level clearance that allowed him access to military facilities such as Navy Yard. “Today we were informed that in 2007, USIS conducted a background check of Aaron Alexis for OPM,” said a company spokesman in a statement provided to the Guardian. “We are contractually prohibited from retaining case information gathered as part of the background checks we conduct for OPM and therefore are unable to comment further on the nature or scope of this or any other background check.”

USIS, formerly known as US Investigations Services, was also involved in background checks on National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, but subsequently defended its role. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal last month, the company said the federal government did not raise any concerns at the time about its work in February 2011 on the five-year “periodic reinvestigation” of Snowden. The company said the NSA, not USIS, was ultimately responsible for approving or denying Snowden’s security clearance.

Snowden’s leaks of classified material revealing the extent of the NSA’s surveillance activities in the US and abroad prompted a review of vetting procedures for contractors by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

On Tuesday, the White House also announced a separate review by the Office of Management and Budget to examine “standards for contractors and employees across federal agencies”.

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Dan Roberts in Washington
theguardian.com, Thursday 19 September 2013 23.54 BST

Find this story at 19 September 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

USIS Under Investigation Over Edward Snowden Background Check

WASHINGTON — The government contractor that performed a background investigation of the man who says he disclosed two National Security Agency surveillance programs is under investigation, a government watchdog said Thursday.

Patrick McFarland, the inspector general at the Office of Personnel Management, said during a Senate hearing that the contractor USIS is being investigated and that the company performed a background investigation of Edward Snowden.

McFarland also told lawmakers that there may have been problems with the way the background check of Snowden was done, but McFarland and one of his assistants declined to say after the hearing what triggered the decision to investigate USIS and whether it involved the company’s check of Snowden.

“To answer that question would require me to talk about an ongoing investigation. That’s against our policy,” Michelle Schmitz, assistant inspector general for investigations, told reporters after the hearing. “We are not going to make any comment at all on the investigation of USIS.”

USIS, which is based in Falls Church, Va., did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said she and her staff have been told that the inquiry is a criminal investigation related “to USIS’ systemic failure to adequately conduct investigations under its contract” with the Office of Personnel Management.

McCaskill said that USIS conducted a background investigation in 2011 for Snowden, who worked for government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden says he is behind the revelations about the NSA’s collection of Americans’ phone records and Internet data from U.S. Internet companies.

“We are limited in what we can say about this investigation because it is an ongoing criminal matter,” McCaskill said. “But it is a reminder that background investigations can have real consequences for our national security.”

McFarland told reporters that his office has the authority to conduct criminal investigations.

A background investigation is required for federal employees and contractors seeking a security clearance that gives them access to classified information.

Of the 4.9 million people with clearance to access “confidential and secret” government information, 1.1 million, or 21 percent, work for outside contractors, according to a January report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Of the 1.4 million who have the higher “top secret” access, 483,000, or 34 percent, work for contractors.

By RICHARD LARDNER 06/20/13 04:51 PM ET EDT

Find this story at 20 June 2013

© 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

U.S. Probes Firm That Vetted NSA Leaker

WASHINGTON—Federal inspectors have been conducting a criminal investigation for more than a year of the company that performed a background check on Edward Snowden, the former systems analyst who leaked some of the nation’s most closely held secrets to the media, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Federal inspectors have been conducting a criminal investigation for more than a year of the company that performed a background check on Edward Snowden, the former systems analyst who leaked some of the nation’s most closely held secrets to the media. Dion Nissenbaum reports.

USIS, the largest contractor involved in conducting security background checks for the federal government, is being scrutinized over allegations about a “systematic failure to adequately conduct investigations,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) said during a special congressional hearing. Those allegations aren’t related to Mr. Snowden.

Federal officials confirmed the investigation Thursday and added that there also may have been problems with USIS’s 2011 security background check of Mr. Snowden, 29 years old, who fled to Hong Kong to avoid prosecution for admittedly taking years of classified documents while working as a Booz Allen Hamilton contractor at a National Security Agency office in Hawaii.

Later that year, inspectors at the Office of Personnel Management—which oversees more than 90% of the government’s security background checks—launched the continuing contracting-fraud investigation of USIS.

Patrick McFarland, inspector general for the Office of Personnel Management, said that there appear to have been problems with the USIS investigation of Mr. Snowden in 2011, though he didn’t provide any details. The 2011 background check of Mr. Snowden was a re-investigation for his security clearance.

“We do believe that there may be some problems,” Mr. McFarland said during the hearing.

USIS, a Falls Church, Va., company owned by private-equity firm Providence Equity Partners LLC, has more than 7,000 employees and conducts 45% of OPM investigations done by contractors, officials said. Last year, USIS received $200 million for its work, Ms. McCaskill said.

In a statement, USIS said it turned over records last year in response to a subpoena from the agency’s inspector general, but that it had never been informed it is under criminal investigation. With regards to Mr. Snowden’s security check, the company said it wouldn’t comment on confidential investigations.

The nation’s background-check system has come under renewed scrutiny in the wake of Mr. Snowden’s revelations.

The federal agency spends more than $1 billion a year to conduct 2 million investigations of people seeking security clearances for jobs doing everything from cleaning offices at the State Department to working as covert operatives overseas. Most of that money goes to contractors like USIS.

Of the roughly 2 million investigations in 2012, more than 770,000 involved people requesting new or continued access to classified information.

The system has been plagued by massive backlogs and delays of more than a year for completion of investigations. Current and former investigators have complained the process is antiquated and focuses more on making sure applicants properly fill out a 127-page application form than on thorough background checks.

On Thursday, Mr. McFarland warned that the investigative process is so flawed that it poses a security risk. “There is an alarmingly insufficient level of oversight of the federal investigative-services program,” he told lawmakers. “A lack of independent verification of the organization that conducts these important background investigations is a clear threat to national security,” he said.

One concern for lawmakers is the pressure on contractors to quickly complete cases to bring in more money for their firms.

Since 2007, 18 people have been convicted of falsifying records while conducting background checks, officials said. Eleven of those were federal workers; seven were contractors.

The latest case came Thursday when Ramon Davila, a former Virgin Islands police commissioner who worked as an independent contractor conducting background checks, pleaded guilty to making false statements about his work. Mr. Davila, who worked at one time for USIS, admitted he didn’t conduct a thorough inquiry while working as a contractor for the agency in 2007.

On Thursday, Mr. McFarland said such cases may be the tip of the iceberg. “I believe there may be considerably more,” he told lawmakers. “I don’t believe that we’ve caught it all by any stretch.”

Federal officials were pressed to explain why USIS could continue to conduct sensitive investigations while under criminal investigation.

Formerly a branch of the federal government, U.S. Investigations Services LLC was spun out of the Office of Personnel Management in 1996. It was renamed USIS after it was acquired by private-equity firms Carlyle Group LP and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe in early 2003 for about $1 billion. Those firms flipped the Falls Church, Va., company to fellow private-equity firm Providence four years later for about $1.5 billion.

Providence, which specializes in buying and selling media, telecom and data companies, has since combined USIS with pre-employment-screening firm HireRight Inc., corporate-investigations firm Kroll Inc. and others under the name Altegrity Inc.

—Ryan Dezember and Evan Perez contributed to this article.
Write to Dion Nissenbaum at dion.nissenbaum@wsj.com

By Dion Nissenbaum
Updated June 21, 2013 3:56 a.m. ET

Find this story at 21 June 2013

Copyright 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Contractors Providing Background Checks For NSA Caught Falsifying Reports, Interviewing The Dead from the the-talking-dead dept

The fallout from Ed Snowden’s leaks has taken many forms, one of which is the NSA taking a long look at its contractors’ hiring processes. Snowden claims to have taken the job solely to gathering damning info. This revelation, combined with some inconsistencies in his educational history, have placed the companies who perform background and credit checks under the microscope.

What these agencies are now discovering can’t be making them happy, including the news that one contractor’s investigative work apparently involved a seance.
Anthony J. Domico, a former contractor hired to check the backgrounds of U.S. government workers, filed a 2006 report with the results of an investigation.

There was just one snag: A person he claimed to have interviewed had been dead for more than a decade. Domico, who had worked for contractors CACI International Inc. (CACI) and Systems Application & Technologies Inc., found himself the subject of a federal probe.
It’s not as if Domico’s case is an anomaly.
Domico is among 20 investigators who have pleaded guilty or have been convicted of falsifying such reports since 2006. Half of them worked for companies such as Altegrity Inc., which performed a background check on national-security contractor Edward Snowden. The cases may represent a fraction of the fabrications in a government vetting process with little oversight, according to lawmakers and U.S. watchdog officials.
Who watches the watchers’ watchers? It appears as if that crucial link in the chain has been ignored. Give any number of people a job to do and, no matter how important that position is, a certain percentage will cut so many corners their cubicles will start resembling spheres.

These are the people entrusted to help ensure our nation’s harvested data remains in safe hands, or at least, less abusive ones. Those defending the NSA claim this data is well-protected and surrounded by safeguards against abuse. Those claims were always a tad hollow, but this information shows them to be complete artifice. The NSA, along with several other government agencies, cannot positively say that they have taken the proper steps vetting their personnel.

USIS, the contractor who vetted Ed Snowden, openly admits there were “shortcomings” in its investigation of the whistleblower. Perhaps Snowden’s background check was a little off, but overall, calling the USIS’ problems “shortcomings” is an understatement.
Among the 10 background-check workers employed by contractors who have been convicted or pleaded guilty to falsifying records since 2006, eight of them had worked for USIS, according to the inspector general for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The personnel agency is responsible for about 90 percent of the government’s background checks.

In one case, Kayla M. Smith, a former investigative specialist for USIS, submitted some 1,600 falsified credit reports, according to the inspector general’s office.
Smith spent 18 months turning in these falsified reports, which accounted for a third of her total output. One might wonder how someone like Smith ends up working for a background check contractor. The answer? This problem isn’t confined to one level.
[T]he investigator who had vetted Smith was convicted in a separate falsification case, Patrick McFarland, inspector general for the personnel office, said at a June 20 hearing held by two Senate panel.
Will it get better? USIS is already ceding market share to other contractors but it’s impossible to say whether its competitors will be more trustworthy. McFarland says his office doesn’t have enough funding to perform thorough probes, which indicates what’s been caught so far is just skimming the surface. These agencies harvesting our data (and their defenders) all expect Americans (and others around the world) to simply trust them. Meanwhile, the reasons why we shouldn’t continue to mount unabated.

A couple of senators are hoping their new piece of oversight legislation will fix the problem. It would provide McFarland’s office with more investigation funding, but simply adding more “oversight” isn’t going to make the problem go away. The NSA’s mouthpieces continue to insist that everything it does is subject to tons and tons of “oversight,” but that has done very little to improve its standing in the “trustworthy” department. There are systemic issues that need to be addressed, both in these agencies and the contractors they hire and expecting to paper over the cracks with a little legislation will only result in more revelations of wrongdoing, rather than fewer occurrences.

by Tim Cushing
Wed, Jul 10th 2013 8:49am

Find this story at 10 July 2013

Top-Secret Crate Packers Among Legions Hired With Leaker

To the growing list of U.S. jobs that require Top Secret clearances add this one: packing and crating.

A June 2 job posting on the website of CACI International Inc. (CACI), a government contractor that works for the Defense Department and intelligence agencies, seeks a full-time “packer/crater” to prepare products such as “chillers, generators, boats and vehicles” for shipping.

The listing says the candidate must have a high-school diploma and hold a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance, the type held by Edward Snowden, 29, the former National Security Agency contractor who says he passed information about classified electronic surveillance programs to two newspapers.

From packers to computer specialists, the number of U.S. military and intelligence jobs requiring Top Secret clearances has risen since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as the federal government expanded efforts to track and stop terrorists globally. That has made the government more dependent on contractors such as Arlington, Virginia-based CACI to fill many of these roles, and it has increased the workload on investigators who must process security clearances.

“Perhaps the government should take a look at the number of people being granted access to sensitive information” and the security risks of that proliferation, said Robert Burton, a partner at the law firm of Venable LLP in Washington who served as acting administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in President George W. Bush’s administration.
About 1.4 Million

About 1.4 million Americans held Top Secret clearances as of October, including about 483,000 who worked for contractors, according to data from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Packer/Crater is listed among occupational specialties on the Central Intelligence Agency’s jobs website, which says the job pays $23.94 an hour and requires a polygraph examination.

Access to Sensitive Compartmented Information, or SCI, is limited to those cleared for specific Top Secret programs or information.

Among those with Top Secret clearances was Snowden, who had been working as a computer technician for government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. (BAH) for less than three months after previously holding a position with the CIA. Booz Allen said yesterday it had fired Snowden, who it said had a salary of $122,000 a year, for “violations of the firm’s code of ethics and firm policy.”

For Booz Allen, based in McLean, Virginia, almost a quarter of annual revenue comes from work for intelligence agencies, according to its annual regulatory filing. About 27 percent of its employees held Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information clearances, according to the company.
Lockheed, SAIC

The company, which reported sales for the year ending March 31 of $5.76 billion, was acquired in 2008 by the Washington-based private-equity firm Carlyle Group LP, which still holds 67 percent of the company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Booz Allen, the 13th-largest federal contractor, competes with Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), SAIC Inc. (SAI), CACI and other companies for U.S. intelligence contracts.

Jobs seeking candidates with Top Secret clearances are among the five most-advertised requirements in the U.S., according to Wanted Technologies, a Quebec City-based company that collects and analyzes job ads.

While postings for Top Secret jobs declined about 23 percent in March from a year earlier, there were still 20,000 such ads posted online, according to “Hiring Demand Indicators” published in April by Wanted Technologies. All of the top five job categories were related to computer technologies.
Security Clearances

Government agencies must turn to contractors for almost a half-million workers with Top Secret clearances because agencies can’t meet their needs for such “highly prized” workers from within, said Stan Soloway, president and chief executive officer of the Professional Services Council, an Arlington, Virginia-based group that represents contractors such as SAIC and CACI.

The danger of leaks isn’t exacerbated by having workers for contractors holding Top Secret clearances, Soloway said.

“You’d still have an overwhelming number of people” working in this area, even if the government was hiring federal workers rather than contractors, Soloway said. “The sheer growth in the intel community increased the potential for leaks.”
Background Investigations

The demand for workers with security clearances has grown so much that many of the background investigations that once were done by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Personnel Management are now farmed out to contractors as well, said Charles Tiefer, a University of Baltimore law professor and former member of the U.S. Commission on Wartime Contracting.

“You couldn’t fill a need as large as it is today if you still depended on the FBI to do field work on every job applicant for a clearance in the government or as a government contractor,” Tiefer said. “So many clearances are being granted that they are doing it by having contractors process the clearances.”

The boost in jobs requiring Top Secret clearances has another effect too: It costs money.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a July 2012 report that the Director of National Intelligence hadn’t provided other government agencies with a clear policy and instructions for determining which civilian jobs needed that clearance.
‘Investigative Workload’

“Developing a sound requirements process is important because requests for clearances for positions that do not need a clearance or need a lower level of clearance increase investigative workload and costs unnecessarily,” according to the GAO report.

To issue a Top Secret clearance, the government or a designated contractor conducts a Single Scope Background Investigation, which includes a review of everywhere an individual has lived, attended school and worked, according to the GAO. Investigators also interview four references who have social knowledge of the individual, talk to former spouses and conduct a check of financial records. Top Secret clearances must be renewed every five years. Some also require a polygraph examination.

The U.S. spent $1 billion in 2011 to conduct background investigations for a variety of classifications, the GAO said.

In 2012, each investigation to issue a new Top Secret clearance costs about $4,000 with a renewal cost of $2,711, compared with the base price of $260 for a more routine Secret clearance, according to the GAO.

“A lot of security reform efforts have been focused on other aspects” of how intelligence agencies work, Brenda Farrell, author the GAO report said in a phone interview. “This one definitely needs attention.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Gopal Ratnam in Washington at gratnam1@bloomberg.net; Danielle Ivory in Washington at divory@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephanie Stoughton at sstoughton@bloomberg.net; John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net

By Gopal Ratnam and Danielle Ivory – Jun 12, 2013

Find this story at 12 June 2013

®2013 BLOOMBERG L.P.

C.I.A. Warning on Snowden in ’09 Said to Slip Through the Cracks

WASHINGTON — Just as Edward J. Snowden was preparing to leave Geneva and a job as a C.I.A. technician in 2009, his supervisor wrote a derogatory report in his personnel file, noting a distinct change in the young man’s behavior and work habits, as well as a troubling suspicion.

The C.I.A. suspected that Mr. Snowden was trying to break into classified computer files to which he was not authorized to have access, and decided to send him home, according to two senior American officials.

But the red flags went unheeded. Mr. Snowden left the C.I.A. to become a contractor for the National Security Agency, and four years later he leaked thousands of classified documents. The supervisor’s cautionary note and the C.I.A.’s suspicions apparently were not forwarded to the N.S.A. or its contractors, and surfaced only after federal investigators began scrutinizing Mr. Snowden’s record once the documents began spilling out, intelligence and law enforcement officials said.

“It slipped through the cracks,” one veteran law enforcement official said of the report.

Spokesmen for the C.I.A., N.S.A. and F.B.I. all declined to comment on the precise nature of the warning and why it was not forwarded, citing the investigation into Mr. Snowden’s activities.

Half a dozen law enforcement, intelligence and Congressional officials with direct knowledge of the supervisor’s report were contacted for this article. All of the officials agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing criminal investigation.

In hindsight, officials said, the report by the C.I.A. supervisor and the agency’s suspicions might have been the first serious warnings of the disclosures to come, and the biggest missed opportunity to review Mr. Snowden’s top-secret clearance or at least put his future work at the N.S.A. under much greater scrutiny.

“The weakness of the system was if derogatory information came in, he could still keep his security clearance and move to another job, and the information wasn’t passed on,” said a Republican lawmaker who has been briefed on Mr. Snowden’s activities.

Mr. Snowden now lives in Moscow, where he surfaced this week for the first time since receiving temporary asylum from the Russian government over the summer. On Wednesday night, he met with four American whistle-blowers who have championed his case in the United States and who presented him with an award they said was given annually by a group of retired C.I.A. officers to members of the intelligence community “who exhibit integrity in intelligence.”

In a television interview, one member of the group, Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department official, said that Mr. Snowden “looked great.”

“He seemed very centered and brilliant,” Ms. Radack said. “Smart, funny, very engaged. I thought he looked very well.”

Another of the whistle-blowers, Coleen Rowley, a former F.B.I. agent who testified before the Senate about missteps in the agency’s investigation of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said, “We talked about prior examples of great people in history that had themselves been under this kind of pressure, and he’s remarkably centered.”

On Thursday, Mr. Snowden’s father, Lon, arrived in Moscow to see his son after assurances from Mr. Snowden’s legal aide that there would be “no complications” in organizing a meeting with his father. But in a telephone interview later in the day, Lon Snowden said he had not yet been able to meet with his son.

“I can’t tell you the where and the when,” the elder Mr. Snowden said. “I have no idea. I hope something happens.”

It is difficult to tell what would have happened had N.S.A. supervisors been made aware of the warning the C.I.A. issued Mr. Snowden in what is called a “derog” in federal personnel policy parlance.

“The spectrum of things in your personnel file could be A to Z,” said Charles B. Sowell, who until June was a top official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence working on improving the security clearance process. “There’s a chance that that information could be missed and might not be surfaced.”

Mr. Sowell, now a senior vice president at Salient Federal Solutions, an information technology company in Fairfax, Va., emphasized that he left the government before Mr. Snowden’s disclosures became public.

Intelligence and law enforcement officials say the report could have affected the assignments Mr. Snowden was given, first as an N.S.A. contractor with the computer company Dell in Japan and later with Booz Allen Hamilton in Hawaii, as well as the level of supervision he received.

The electronic systems the C.I.A. and N.S.A. use to manage the security clearances for its full-time and contracted employees are intended to track major rule-based infractions, not less serious complaints about personal behavior, a senior law enforcement official said. Thus, lesser derogatory information about Mr. Snowden was unlikely to have been given to the N.S.A. unless it was specifically requested. As a result of Mr. Snowden’s case, two law enforcement officials said, that flaw has since been corrected and such information is now being pushed forward.

The revelation of the C.I.A.’s derogatory report comes as Congress is examining the process of granting security clearances, particularly by USIS, a company that has performed 700,000 yearly security checks for the government. Among the individuals the company vetted were Mr. Snowden and Aaron Alexis, who the police say shot and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard last month.

“We have a compelling need to monitor those trusted with this sensitive information on a more regular basis and with broader sets of data,” said Kathy Pherson, a former C.I.A. security officer who belongs to an intelligence industry task force that is expected to issue a report on the matter by year’s end.

While it is unclear what exactly the supervisor’s negative report said, it coincides with a period of Mr. Snowden’s life in 2009 when he was a prolific online commenter on government and security issues, complained about civil surveillance and, according to a friend, was suffering “a crisis of conscience.”

Mr. Snowden got an information technology job at the C.I.A. in mid-2006. Despite his lack of formal credentials, he gained a top-secret clearance and a choice job under State Department cover in Geneva. Little is known about what his duties were there.

Mavanee Anderson, who worked with Mr. Snowden in Geneva and also had a high security clearance, said in an article in The Chattanooga Times Free Press of Tennessee in June that when they worked from 2007 through early 2009, Mr. Snowden “was already experiencing a crisis of conscience of sorts.”

“Anyone smart enough to be involved in the type of work he does, who is privy to the type of information to which he was privy, will have at least moments like these,” she said.

Later, Mr. Snowden would tell the newspaper The Guardian that he was shocked and saddened by some of the techniques C.I.A. operatives in Geneva used to recruit sources. “Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world,” he told The Guardian. “I realized that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good.”

There were other signs that have since drawn investigators’ attention. In early 2009, someone using Mr. Snowden’s screen name expressed outrage at government officials who leaked information to the news media, telling a friend in an Internet chat that leakers “should be shot.”

“They’re just like WikiLeaks,” Mr. Snowden — or someone identified as him from his screen name, “TheTrueHOOHA,” and other details — wrote in January 2009 about an article in The New York Times on secret exchanges between Israel and the United States about Iran’s nuclear program.

He later told The Guardian he was disappointed that President Obama “advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in.”

“I got hardened,” he said.

Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting from Washington, and Andrew Roth from Moscow.

October 10, 2013
By ERIC SCHMITT

Find this story at 10 October 2013

© 2013 The New York Times Company

Exclusive: NSA delayed anti-leak software at base where Snowden worked -officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. National Security Agency failed to install the most up-to-date anti-leak software at a site in Hawaii before contractor Edward Snowden went to work there and downloaded tens of thousands of highly classified documents, current and former U.S. officials told Reuters.

Well before Snowden joined Booz Allen Hamilton last spring and was assigned to the NSA site as a systems administrator, other U.S. government facilities had begun to install software designed to spot attempts by unauthorized people to access or download data.

The purpose of the software, which in the NSA’s case is made by a division of Raytheon Co, is to block so-called “insider threats” – a response to an order by President Barack Obama to tighten up access controls for classified information in the wake of the leak of hundreds of thousands of Pentagon and State Department documents by an Army private to WikiLeaks website in 2010.

The main reason the software had not been installed at the NSA’s Hawaii facility by the time Snowden took up his assignment there was that it had insufficient bandwidth to comfortably install it and ensure its effective operation, according to one of the officials.

Due to the bandwidth issue, intelligence agencies in general moved more slowly than non-spy government units, including the Defense Department, to install anti-leak software, officials said.

NBC News reported earlier this year that Snowden, who has been charged with espionage but was granted asylum in Russia, took advantage of antiquated security systems to rummage through the NSA’s computer systems but details of the lapses in Hawaii have not previously been reported.

A spokeswoman for the NSA declined to discuss details of the agency’s schedule for installing anti-leak software in Hawaii. She said the agency has had to speed up its efforts to tighten security in the wake of Snowden’s disclosures.

“We open our facilities only after we have met all of the necessary regulatory, statutory, and infrastructure requirements,” the spokeswoman said. “NSA has a very large, diverse and complex IT infrastructure across our global enterprise, and many features of that infrastructure evolve over time as new capabilities are developed, refined, and deployed.”

She added: “NSA and the Intelligence Community at large have been moving forward with IT efficiency initiatives for several years. … The unauthorized disclosures have naturally compelled NSA and the rest of the IC to accelerate the timeline.”

Raytheon had no immediate comment.

INSIDER THREAT

In December 2010, the White House created a task force, headed by a former senior intelligence officer, to develop plans and systems to tighten access controls for classified information.

One of the specific initiatives announced by the White House for spy agencies was the installation of a program described as “Enhanced Automated, On-Line Audit Capability: Systems will monitor user activity on all IC classified computer systems to detect unusual behavior.”

The NSA Hawaii facility, known as a Remote Operations Center, opened in January 2012, replacing an older site located in a nearby World War II-era facility. The facility is focused on intercepting communications from Asia, and the Washington Post has reported that it also is involved in operations in cyberspace such as mapping adversaries’ computer networks and implanting electronic beacons.

Snowden was assigned by Booz Allen Hamilton to the Hawaii facility in late March or early April 2013, after first attending training sessions near NSA’s Maryland headquarters.

He was only there for a few weeks before he told his employers that he needed time off because of health problems. Snowden then disappeared and turned up several weeks later in Hong Kong. There, he gave a TV interview and a trove of secrets from the NSA and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, to writer Glenn Greenwald, filmmaker Laura Poitras, and journalists from Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

Reuters reported in August that Snowden began downloading documents describing the U.S. government’s electronic spying on an earlier job working for Dell Inc in April 2012.

One official said Congressional oversight committees had repeatedly expressed concerns to the administration that agencies across the government, including spy units, had moved too slowly to install updated security software.

Another official said that U.S. agencies were still not positive they knew the details of all the material which Snowden had downloaded and turned over to journalists.

(Editing by Tiffany Wu and Grant McCool)

Fri, Oct 18 2013

By Mark Hosenball and Warren Strobel

Find this story at 18 October 2013

© Thomson Reuters 2011.