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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.

« The Spy Who Briefed Me: Fmr Blackwater Columbian Recruiter Gunned Down | Main | Update: DNI Inadvertently Reveals Key to Classified National Intel Budget »

June 04, 2007

Comments

a517dogg

Fascinating!

Retired

Yep, with smooth moves like this, Ms. Everett's much sought after "acquisition core competency" will be joining the other, more traditional IC core competencies (i.e., collection and analysis) out in the private sector. She has already demonstrated, in a way that is hard to argue with, what happens when you pay sub-market compensation for important positions.

Of course, those Senators and Congressmen, and others, who have been lobbying for the disclosure of the overall intelligence budget must be wondering what fiscal God to thank for this totally unexpected turn of events. Ten years of the big banana! Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!

Bcre8ve

The link to the DIA brings up a

"

Page Not Found

This page is no longer located on the DIA site.
"

I was, unfortunately, too late. Damn!

R J Hillhouse

The American Federation of Scientists posted the PowerPoint here on their site

AsudoNimh

Actually, you can currently get the PPT and others at http://www.dia.mil/contracting/briefs/

Nigel

Perennial problem for security folks - people not "flattening" their presentations. It is also fun to open documents in a binary editor or save them off as an html or xml document and open them in a text editor.

BN

Actually, the most disturbing thing about the presentation is the content related to trends -- are they really that far behind?

T. R. Phillips

60 billion is exactly 20% more than 48 billion, not 25% more.

Great article though, other than that. The 5th-grader math error does not negatively impact the point of your article.

5th grader

Actually 60 IS a 25% increase over 48. Don't worry, I'm sure you'll understand when you reach the next grade.

Eric O.

Actually 60 is 25% greater than 48.

You should not post references to inadequate math.

Dr. Math

$60B is 25% more than $48B.

$48*1.25=$60.

bearhouse

Yup (60-48)/48=0.25

Susan

I'm sorry to see that you published this information. I realize the DNI inadvertantly released these numbers, but that doesn't mean you had to expose it. What great purpose does it serve to let our islamofascist enemies know how much we're spending in the epic struggle against them? (The great purpose is you selling more books.) You're no better than the NY Times when it comes to publishing national security information. Just because you can tell the world something doesn't mean you should.

R J Hillhouse

I'm very cautious about what I do publish. It will mean absolutely nothing to the islamosascist enemies to know the top line government-wide intel spending is.

It used to be important to hide when our biggest threat was a state-based actor, namely the Soviet Union. Then a $3-4 billion swing would've tipped them off to a new spy satellite. Similar for new weapons systems. This top line budget number says nothing about systems or possible system acquisitions.

The amount the IC is spending makes zero difference to UBL and his fellow travelers.

Shannon

There's a better than even chance that a "state based actor" will again be on our adversary list in the near future in the form of Russia, guided by the increasingly hostile Vlad Putin (perhaps along with China).

Let's face it, they should already be BACK ON THE LIST, but we're historically slow at making those decisions.

R J Hillhouse

What as true about the satellite example really doesn't matter any more since so much satellite data comes from private satellites. And knowing that the budget is 25% larger than previously believed says nothing about trends and possible expenditure blips.

Yes, much to the relief of the US Navy, Russian and China are potential adversaries. Then there's always the European Union...
(Before the Left and my European buddies pounce me here, remember I'm a thriller writer and I like to war game things several moves ahead of the present.)

Sapient

Umm... aren't you all making a giant assuption that the unit is tens of billions of dollars? Why would the slide author go to the trouble of dividing by any number at all if they were going to divide by one that could be so easily guessed?

Roger Ritthaler

"I'm sorry to see that you published this information..." Yada. Yada. Yada.

What? Of course, we should know what the figures are: we should know if we are getting our money's worth.

R J Hillhouse

Hi Sapient. That's a good question.

We know from the presentation that 70% of the budget goes to contracts and we know the numbers, according to their label they are the # dollars in the IC broken down by fiscal year with only partial data for FY06. If we don’t know that it’s tens of millions, then the number would reverse engineer to $6000 and we know they spend more than that on toilet seats.

More seriously, we know it’s not $600 billion (i.e.. the figures are in the hundreds of millions) since, even according to this presentation federal procurement spending is around $350 billion (won’t split hairs on the exact wording here.) We also know it’s not $6 billion (e.g. the numbers are in the millions) which would buy approximately 2 mid-priced satellites and since publicly traded companies report more than that from these contracts. It absolutely has to be a double-digit number in the billions of dollars.

RJH

TruePath

@Susan,

Do you seriously believe that any marginally competent state intelligence agency interested in our activities doesn't regularly archive and look for metadata and other information in our official documents? Either our opponents have enough resources to discover this sort of information themselves (you don't think that once the ppt is out on the web it can be taken back do you) or they don't have enough resources to do anything with the info. All that refusing to expose this information accomplishes is to deny the american public the information that our adversaries almost certainly have and cover the ass of the official who fucked up and released this info.

I'd much rather have our government know that this information is out there rather than letting the officials responsible sweep it under the rug for their career safety. Also if the government is still really making errors like this maybe bringing it to attention will help them avoid doing it on something really important.

On the other hand is there a compelling reason to believe this wasn't done on purpose to mislead people? Either for domestic political gain or feeding false info to other groups?

R J Hillhouse

The presentation was done at a conference for contractors. There's no reason that the ODNI, which is run by our nation's top spy, the former head of the private intelligence industry's lobbying group, would be trying to deceive private industry which they are courting.

robay

That ppt is a mess. I'd hate to have to sit through that presentation.

The thing I can't stand is that we continue to let Congress allocate $billions with no accountability.

recordsquest

RecordsQuest is a website dedicated to keeping information such as this in the public domain. It is crucial for the freedom of our country that the people be able to scrutinize information such as this. The torrent can be downloaded from our site:

http://www.recordsquest.org/?q=node/102

Jerry

"islamofascist enemies" -

I'm sure they are not interested in these numbers. What, they are going to ramp up their budget to stay instep with our budget !!!!

Shows how the "Islam-phobia" hook has been swallowed hook and sink :-(

Michael P

Enormous CIA budgets, yet another infringement on our rights by the gov't. Add it to the ever-growing list of violations:
They violate the 1st Amendment by opening mail, caging demonstrators and banning books like "America Deceived" from Amazon.
They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns during Katrina.
They violate the 4th Amendment by conducting warrant-less wiretaps.
They violate the 5th and 6th Amendment by suspending habeas corpus.
They violate the 8th Amendment by torturing.
They violate the entire Constitution by starting 2 illegal wars based on lies and on behalf of a foriegn gov't.
Support Dr. Ron Paul and reverse these trends.
Last link (unless Stark County District Library caves to the gov't and drops the title):
America Deceived (book)

Susan

"Do you seriously believe that any marginally competent state intelligence agency interested in our activities doesn't regularly archive and look for metadata and other information in our official documents?"

Of course they do this, and that is the point! People seriously underestimate our adversaries, whether they are islamofascists, Chinese Communists, or North Korean nutcases. I'm sure the government knew it "f'd" up, as you so eloquently put it. The question remains -- why would anyone want to draw extra attention to it? To me, it's the equivalent of jumping up and down on a street corner and yelling about your neighbor who leaves her keys in her unlocked Mercedes every night. Ya think any criminals might take note of that?

Any and every member of Congress has the right (and duty, I contend) to review the Intelligence Community budget every year. Do you know how many actually do it? You could count them on one hand. These congressmen are should be held accountable for dereliction of their representative duties. They are the ones, our representatives, who need to take the Intelligence Community to task for this screw up. But the current majority in Congress is obessed with destroying George Bush, not with defending our country, so they can't be bothered. If you think posting this information on a blog is going to make a whit of difference to the running of the intelligence community, you're sorely mistaken.

As for the public's "need to know" classified information, a few years back I did a report for a government agency on what enemies can discern about our intelligence capabilities based on leaks, declassified intelligence, and ~unclassified~ data. It is not a single leak or error, like the budget being released that poses the problem. It is the amalgamation of all this information. In the right hands (a competant foreign intelligence analyst), this "public" information, when analyzed in its entirety, gives our enemies an ENORMOUS amount of information. They can and do use this information to deny our intelligence collection efforts and/or to deceive us about their plans and intentions.

I take these matters (leaks and the publicity surrounding them) extremely seriously. Our lives may very well depend on the what our enemies know about our capabilities. Some people here would deny that even when confronted by a suicide belt-wearing fanatic outside their local grocery store. We just misunderstand them, don't you see. Or it's our fault their so angry....Why bother to respond to all the yahoos who don't see the threats we face.

Laszlo Toth, Jr

"I take these matters (leaks and the publicity surrounding them) extremely seriously."

No, actually, you don't.

If you did, you'd realize that as a free society, we have such an overwhelming advantage over our adversaries that it literally does not matter what they do or do not know about us.

Instead, you're just as defeatist, and spread just as much useless fear, as our adversaries. Reminds me more than a little of that old KGB double agent, Joe McCarthy.

Laszlo Toth, Jr

RJ:

You do realize, don't you, that this slide "reveals" nothing, other than existence of a slide?

That is, it may accurately reflect the intelligence budgets, but it may not. It may even accurately reflect what is reported internally to the administration, but that may have little to do with whatever the actual numbers may be.

And that's before we get into whether such figures may have been deliberately fabricated to be leaked. Given that this administration is willing to sacrifice senior intelligence officers just to score a short-term political "gotcha," nothing would surprise me on that front.

Gex

Um, let's give RJH a break. She's not the one who put it on the net, they did. Once on the net, it never comes off. You can pull the stuff on the site, but those electrons sure do move fast and get stored somewhere else.

If the state enemies have been dilligently looking for this kind of intel, they *someone* would have found this and downloaded this for analysis. Like in computer exploits, if the bad guys find the hole, they aren't going to tell you.

In this case, if the enemies are going to know anyhow, at least let the tax payers know too.

Roger Ritthaler

I think the taxpayers should know exactly where every penny of "their" money is going... period. There is no reason for secrecy... period.

kelley b.

The New York Pravda has just noticed today what you picked up weeks ago.

It seems somebody at the Paper of Record has started to get alarmed.

Keep up the good work, Dr. Hillhouse!

Steve

Surely we have heard of "disinformation?" It matters not one iota what the actual dollar amount is, nor the fact that some specific amount has been posted for semi-permanent viewing. What really matters is that our major mainstream news outlets and our own Congress work against us in some very significant ways.

Cipu

I think,Intelligence budget must be wondering..

anonymous

Don't ever put anything on the web you don't want to be seen. A crawler will find it or it will get sucked up by a intercept device like this one.

http://www.narus.com/products/intercept.html

If you want to know what this stuff is about pickup a copy of "The Shadow Factory". Its eye opening to say the least.

anonymous

I'll probably read your OUTSOURCED book next.

Is it me or does our current political environment lend itself to writing books about all the B.S. that is going on.

I think the "Shock and Awe" campaign was not just for the Iraqi people. I think it was for Americans as well. I think my jaw hits the floor almost every day now. If this keeps up, Im going to need reconstructive surgery to reshape it.

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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.