The unprecedented involvement of private corporations in the Iraq War has been well documented. Private soldiers working for Blackwater USA, Triple Canopy and others provide security services against military-level threats, and they regularly engage in combat. But what is not generally known is that the secret side of the Iraq War and the larger “war on terror” is also conducted by private corporations, fielding private spies. The reach of these corporations has extended into the Oval Office. Corporations are heavily involved in creating the analytical products that underlie the nation’s most important and most sensitive national security document, the President’s Daily Brief (PDB).
Over the past six years, a quiet revolution has occurred in the intelligence community toward wide-scale outsourcing to corporations and away from the long-established practice of keeping operations in US government hands, with only select outsourcing of certain jobs to independently contracted experts. Key functions of intelligence agencies are now run by private corporations. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) revealed in May that 70 percent of the intelligence budget goes to contractors.
For all practical purposes, effective control of the NSA is with private corporations, which run its support and management functions. As the Washington Post‘s Walter Pincus reported last year, more than 70 percent of the staff of the Pentagon’s newest intelligence unit, CIFA (Counterintelligence Field Activity), is made up of corporate contractors. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) lawyers revealed at a conference in May that contractors make up 51 percent of the staff in DIA offices. At the CIA, the situation is similar. Between 50 and 60 percent of the workforce of the CIA’s most important directorate, the National Clandestine Service (NCS), responsible for the gathering of human intelligence, is composed of employees of for-profit corporations.
Employees of private corporations–“green badgers,” in CIA parlance–provide sensitive services ranging from covert CIA operations in Iraq to recruiting and running spies. They also gather human intelligence on behalf of the CIA and analyze it, creating intelligence products used by the intelligence community and also shared with other branches of government.
Corporate intelligence professionals from companies such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC and others are thoroughly integrated into analytical divisions throughout the intelligence community, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It is the ODNI that produces the final document of the President’s Daily Brief.
The President’s Daily Brief is an aggregate of the most critical analyses from the sixteen agencies that make up the intelligence community. Staff at the ODNI sift through reports to complete the PDB, which is presented to the President every day as the US government’s most accurate and most current assessment of priority national security issues. It was the PDB that warned on August 6, 2001, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.”