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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 ADNI Responds: The Buns are in the Oven | Main | The Nation: Outsourcing Intelligence »

July 23, 2007

Comments

Sock Puppet of the Great Satan

"There’s really no need to move this service from the private sector back into government. The tools are already there in the private sector that could be applied, at least in concept, to monitor for any suspicious activity."

I'm just not so sure: we're not just talking about overt manipulation, but also the insecurity of being an at-will employee of a contractor, or the subtle pressure of next year's contract going to another firm, that would make one unwilling to buck the conventional wisdom. It's hard enough to endure the unpopularity of being the prophet crying in the wilderness without adding economic insecurity to that.

There's also the issue of use of contractors altering the career path of the intel agencies and, in the long run, weakening their corps d'esprit and institutional memory, but that's another issue.

Sock Puppet of the Great Satan

Argggh. Espirit de corps, not what I wrote above.

Retired

Hey, is that race driver suit purple, or is it just my graphics card? One thing is for sure: it had better be flame proof!

Ralph

I think this overstates the case. Before I retired from the IC (DOE Intelligence) in 2004, I was involved in various NIEs and had been detailed to the NIC off & on during the 1990s. Yes, there are a lot of contractors working for the IC -- at DOE Intelligence, for example, we had many national laboratory employees (scientists & engineers) on our staff -- but I believe for the most part the "beltway bandits" are a step or two removed from the top rungs of the analytical process. My guess is that anyone who actually puts fingers to the keyboard in crafting articles for the PDB is a federal employee.

Greaseman

Actually, green badgers from several companies are thoroughly interegrated into the analytical process at pretty much every level except actual signoff and release of products. A blue badger always pushes the send button, but the NASCAR analogy is pretty accurate.

While there has never been an attempt at corporate manipulation. at least to my knowledge, there isn't a lot of effort being expended to detect it, either. This is because people with security clearances, particularly those who have undergone a polygraph examination, are nominally considered to be loyal to govenment interests over corporate. I don't believe that this dynamic has ever been formally vetted by security, however.

One point that may have been missed here is the role of customer predisposition in intelligence manipulation. If an analyst knew that a consumer was predisposed to a certain view toward a topic, effect on action might be achieved with a relatively light manipulative touch. Such manipulation might only be detectable by applying a deliberate program against this possibility.

JZ

*Public* daily Brief:
http://meta2.com/PDB

JZ

That URL (http://meta2.com/PDB)is now discontinued due to the main PDB organizer dying and lack of funds. I did send a sample copy to someone I met who worked with the NSA way back when, and he told me that the Prez Daily Brief he was exposed to was "awesomely worse" then the Public Daily Brief sample copy I sent him that cost $250/week to produce utilizing around 450 sources.
Sample copy is here - http://tr.im/i7kE
Email me for other sample copies if desired at earthintelnet[at]gmail.com

maynet

Nice share thank you

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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.