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About R J Hillhouse

  • Dr. Hillhouse has run Cuban rum between East and West Berlin, smuggled jewels from the Soviet Union and slipped through some of the world’s tightest borders. From Uzbekistan to Romania, she's been followed, held at gunpoint and interrogated. Foreign governments and others have pitched her for recruitment as a spy. (They failed.)

    A former professor and Fulbright fellow, Dr. Hillhouse earned her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Michigan. Her latest novel, OUTSOURCED (Forge Books) is about the turf wars between the Pentagon and the CIA and the privatization of national security.

    Dr. Hillhouse is an expert on national security outsourcing. Her controversial work has twice elicited a formal response by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence--the only times that office has ever publicly responded to the writings of a private citizen.

    She is a regular media guest and available for interviews.

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OUTSOURCED.

« Outsourced Dirty Work and Legal Liability | Main | "We Can't Spy...If We Can't Buy" »

May 31, 2007

Comments

bourbon

Michael Vickers recently took the ASD SO/LIC gig. My understanding (near nonexistent) is that he has a strong background in both military and CIA. Hopefully he can smooth things up.

I would imagine Gen. Boykin will still keep a foot in the game. Maybe take a gig at a PMC?

RE: Air Force HUMINT, the Quiet American himself Edward Lansdale was an Air Force officer if I recall.

R J Hillhouse

I would expect Gen. Boykin has been courted by all the PMCs. He'd be a very important rainmaker, I would think. I suspect he might also be attractive to private spy shops looking to move deeper into DoD business.

The liability here, of course, is that as a civilian he will have far fewer constraints on his public statements. His religious views in the past have caused such uproars. Unless I was totally convinced about the size of the contracts he could attract, if I were BW, I'd stay away for this reason. They've been inaccurately branded as an extreme far-right Christian crusaders and they don't need to add more PR problems.

Edward Landsdale is the HUMINT exception that proves the rule at the USAF. Granted current DCI Hayden got to play I Spy with the Sovs from the safe haven of the Allied military mission in Potsdam during the Cold War, but those doing more serious work there without the protection of official cover can only roll their eyes. Who knows if the KGB Chief Resident Titov even bothered to read the reports on the military super-spies' antics.

Nell

They've been inaccurately branded as an extreme far-right Christian crusaders

Who has so branded them? I don't know of any characterization of the beliefs and practices of the employees themselves, but the Christian Right political beliefs and associations of the company's owner Erik Prince are documented, among other places in Jeremy Scahill's book.

Please elaborate a little on what the inaccurate charges are and on what basis you assess them as inaccurate.

R J Hillhouse

"What is scary about Blackwater's role in a war that President Bush labled a 'crusade' is that the company's leading executives are dedicated to a Christian-supremicist agenda."
--Jeremy Scahill, BLACKWATER. New York: Nation Books, 2007

Retired

Gen. Clapper spent the majority of his career in SIGINT, like most AF intel types, including Gen. Hayden. This "Godfather of HUMINT" tag comes from when he supported the expansion of the Defense HUMINT Service, a wannabee Secret Squirrel candidate, during his time as Director of DIA. Once again, the Pentagon mistaking bureaucratic intel service as being equivalent to field clandestine intel operations.

This seems to be endemic now that Air Force career crypies dominate the bureaucracies that oversee clandestine HUMINT or, in the Pentagon's case, overseas operations that are hoped to remain clandestine despite being conducted by 5.11 wearing military types sporting G-SHOCK watches, exotic military footwear, eccentric Soldier of Fortune facial hair and $250 mirrored sunglasses in the midst of a rainstorm.

As far as Michael Vickers is concerned, he's a former army officer and Agency ops officer who entered into the big time when he became Gust Avrakotos' de facto deputy in the Afghan covert action campaign that drove the Russians out. No question that he's very capable; too bad that he's in the Pentagon, whose bureaucracy will probably end up stifling him.

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Acknowledgements

  • A tip of the hat to investigative journalist Tim Shorrock who inspired the name of this blog with his path-breaking 2005 article, "The Spy Who Billed Me."

    Shorrock has a dedicated web page on outsourcing in intel. It links to many of his articles which are must-reads for anyone interested in the privatization of intelligence.