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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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  • "This gripping blog is filled with compelling posts on private intel corporations, mercenaries, the CIA, and the War on Terror."

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« Report on BW Shooting Raises Questions | Main | Live on Detroit Area Radio Wednesday Morning »

October 02, 2007


Mikey in Plano

Blackwater is not, however, the biggest security contractor hired by the Agency. That title belongs to a very large, very low profile company that you've never read about in the media that provides site security to CIA facilities worldwide, including the blackest sites the Agency runs.

Are you talking about these guys?

'Cuz I found them in 2 minutes with Google.

They are in the news some, lately.

R J Hillhouse


It does make a very funny image of overweight, middle-aged guys zooming around black sites on golf carts...


Mikey in Plano

So, maybe not.

Wow, I need to edit for tone.

Scott K.

Dr. Hillhouse,

While I don't claim any special knowledge, I'll egg the novelist in you on a little further.

From my own reading, it seemed to me that the CPA was more than halfway to the concept of a separate, if not Kurdistan exactly, a fairly autonomous Kurdish territory. They issued passports, postage and had some initial work on currency. It would not surprise me if 1 of 2 things had occurred.
1. The CPA directed Blackwater to 'make deliveries' to Kurdish clans or militias, and some of the deliveries wound up in PKK hands.
2. The CPA felt the PKK was a ready-made Kurdistan Defense Force, and could only supply them off the books since the PKK is tagged as a terrorist organization.

Again, just my US$.02, unadjusted for market dips.

Drew L.

How about SAIC?


"Blackwater at one time had contracts with the Department of Energy about which one can infer that it has probably guarded nukes or nuclear facilities. It's unknown whether this is an ongoing contract."

Blackwater recently had (gone now) two security positions listed on their site, subject to contract award, located at Hanford, WA. Hanford Nuclear Reservation is site of former nuke production/power and also potential site of new plant for recycled plutonium (11 metric tons on site).

"However, the spy novelist in me couldn't help but wonder if an Agency contract was involved..."

Let's see, large warehouses of undocumented weapons guarded by civies..Iran-Contra rerun???

John C.

Are you talking about AEGIS ?

R J Hillhouse

Mikey, sorry I missed the joke.

Scott K., someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the smuggling allegations were recent, well beyond the CPA's existence. But your thoughts raise an interesting point: that it could be that the Agency is supplying Iraqi Kurdish militias with weapons and they're selling them or otherwise passing them on to the PKK. And since everything at the Agency is contracted out and BW was well positioned to bring weapons to Iraq with few questions (and they could be trusted to get them there, unlike the Bonsia/Viktor Bout fiasco), they could easily have been used to ferry in weapons. This, of course, is the spy novelist in me speculating...

Drew L., Thanks for the link to the Vanity Fair article on SAIC. They're a major player--one of the big Beltway Bandits that's heavily involved with the Agency and NSA, among others. Their reputation can rival BAH--if you know what I mean...

John C., The Army contracts with Aegis for security--enough said.



Dr. H,
And, of course, this week, the head of Blackwater got up in front of Congress and lied through his teeth, but nothing will occur. His claim that everything his company does is above board is beyond absurd and fully into the contemptuously anti-democratic. The notion that the top guy at the firm is just in the dark about all the incidents in question, well, there's plausible deniability, and then their plausible bullsh*t. These mercenaries receive the fiscal spoils of war, while kids like my brother, a Marine set to be sent for his third tour, are lucky to make subsistence wages while risking their lives in a conflict which is only enriching and benefiting two groups: terrorists and those like companies like Blackwater -- which, the further along we go, are not so different as one would hope to believe.

The pathetic approach to tackling this issue by the Democratic Party, the illusion of an "opposition" party we have, suggests not merely a contagious lack of free American imagination, but also a nagging suspiscion that they really approve of the mercenary route. Hell, my worthless Senator Feinstein has already made millions off the war, and did so while on committees steering appropriations to a company her husband held a huge stake in.

I hate to say we're doomed, but until the streets are full of citizens demanding change, well, we are doomed.


I love all the so-called BW experts out there. Most of whom have never worked for BW or any other PMC. I would also like to say that Jeremy Scahill's book is nothing but garbage. Most everything in that book was taken from other sources and in my opinion and other current/ former BW personnel plagiarism.

As for Aegis- most of their work for the Army is providing security for reconstruction efforts. The company that I believe Ms. Hillhouse is referring to is [censored by RJH]. They had a large portion of the OGA contracts previously. Although they did lose some of that to BW and another company.

For everyone that wants to jump on bash the contractor bandwagon please contact your elected representatives and tell them to increase your taxes, and hire more military recruiters or better yet reinstate the draft so that we have enough personnel to not only conduct war fighting operations but support as well.


I am a lover of spy novels and dabble a bit in military history. (John LeCarre' my favorite.) It isn't so much the idea of private contractors that bothers me.
it's the extreme views that Erik Prince holds. I was of the opinion that the SEALS screened people like this out, to prevent turning a whackjob into the human equivalent of a nuke out of control. And, how does this guy quit the academy, then the navy, then reup and get accepted into the SEALS whose whole philosophy is die before i will quit, and make it through? Then quits again when he inherits a billion. something smells like b.s.. Or money. or both.



Please tell everyone here how you know about "his" views? Other than some crap that you have heard and read in the media? He inherited his money from his father who held the patent for lighted car visors. No amount of money will ensure that anyone graduates from BUD's.

R J Hillhouse

It's true we've heard a lot about Prince's views, but that has largely been inferences about people with whom his family has associated and to whom he continued to donate money, which could mean he shares the beliefs or it could mean that's what he thinks his father would have liked. We really don't know.

All we do know is that he's a devout Roman Catholic.

I do know that he's respected by Team guys and they're the ones who can best judge another SEAL's performance.

I've never seen any evidence that Blackwater reflects extremist views. Given that it's populated with former SEALs, we can pretty safely guess they're conservative, but typically this is the more old-fashioned libertarian conservative values rather than the more modern social conservatives.

The media does, indeed, tend toward ratings-boosting sensationalism. A more nuanced view is much more boring than some headline about a crazed religious zealot with private army.



If he weren't a major campaign contributor to ANYBODY, and if his name wasn't associated with so many fringe element groups, I would say "great job". And they did do a great job, in not losing a single client. I know from reading "Air America", the documentary, that there were doubtless countless acts of heroism performed by these people that we'll never hear about because of the secret nature of the missions. I trust the profit motive. I don't trust zealots of any stripe. Also, f.y.i., on 911 on my local radio, people reported that friends had called them who lived near 3 mile island, pa. and said they saw black helicopters flying at low altitude towards the power plant. So, I guess they do have a contract to defend nuke plants. And, neither of you two that responded addressed my question, all you did was attack me for asking. I'll call Maxwell Smart on his shoe phone, maybe he'll know. LOL



WTF are you talking about?What "black helicopters" are you talking about? Though I have only met Mr. Prince once he did not strike me as an "extremist". The reason I did not comment about your other rantings is because I do not know them to be true and therefore have nothing to say. Those black helos could have been DOE. They have their own security and plenty of weapons. Trust me on that.


My apologies to Dr. Hillhouse for lumping her response in with an uncouth knuckledragger like WKL. I read your wiki entry and was floored, and will read your book at my first chance. What black helicopters, WKL? The photos I saw of BW helicopters in Iraq were all black. It's a guess on my part that they were seen enroute to three mile island. I suggest you look at the wiki entry for Erik Prince. I think the first sentence is "right wing fundamentalist". I have no problem with good contractors. But, if I were to build a world class contractor that would outlast one administration, I would be as apolitical as possible.


My friend has a webpage called "The Covert Comic" tha's worth checking out. He suggests that if Hillary is elected, they change their name to "Pinkwater" and put a woman on their board of directors. I suggest they also paint their helicopters pink, to soften their image a bit. (LOL) This will drive all the black helicopter people nuts (a moot point) since they will have to come up with a new conspiracy theory.


The problem isn't with privare contractors. Air America did it for many years. But their profits didn't go to financing the creation museum and to far right lobbyists. You may not believe it, but some Americans object to having their tax dollars funneled that way.


Perhaps Dr. Hillhouse will be that first woman on Blackwaters board of directors. It would be their gain.


Just like some of us object to unions giving money to liberals even when those members object. Personally I am not a big fan of special interests groups. You still didn't answer my question about the helos. I know what the BW little birds look like. I asked you what does that have to do with a nuke plant. Did you know that DOE actually has most of their security contracted out to Wackenhut Gov't Services? BW may train them and that's about it.


Just like some of us object to unions giving money to liberals even when those members object. Personally I am not a big fan of special interests groups. You still didn't answer my question about the helos. I know what the BW little birds look like. I asked you what does that have to do with a nuke plant. Did you know that DOE actually has most of their security contracted out to Wackenhut Gov't Services? BW may train them and that's about it.


WLK- Sorry for calling you a knuckledragger LOL some of my best friends are knuckledraggers. But, to respond, if you scroll to the top of this page, Dr. Hillhouse said that BW has or had contracts with the dept. of energy, from which one may infer they were guarding nuke plants. That coupled with the sighting i refered to at three mile island. And I conceed, that is only a guess. Probably why they call them black contracts. I still think BW needs to upgrade their uniforms to meet the changing political climate. Those uniforms are HIDEOUS. Black bicycle shorts would be o.k.. And, can't they find B.D.U. jackets in pastels? They sure don't know how to shop.


And those ugly insect looking helmets. I'm sure there are places where they could procur kevlar that looks like real fake fur. And I won't even go into accesories. LMAO


And who the hell is Whackohut? Didn't they used to send me catalogs? Oh, wait, that was Fingerhut, no doubt a proprietary front for them. At their prices, outsourcing is a bargain. Just kidding, I have seen Whackenhut mentioned in other articles. For just 49.99 a month you too can have a vibrating recliner that with a simple push on the remote electrocutes the occupant LOL


And, despite my ribbing, I still find this site educational and informative. I mentioned that I have read a lot of espionage fiction, and am irresitably drawn to the suspense and sexiness of the black art. And, the honesty of many of the authors suprises me when they reveal the unmasked soul of the game as something thankless, soul killing and just plain ugly. Thus, hopefully, their efforts aren't wasted on those with insight- we have some small idea of the tremendous sacrafice those in the intelligence world have made for our nation. And that's no bullshit.


sacrifice. Lern 2 spel dumby LOL


Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot, over? Translation of my previous posts for the civilian impaired- you can still bullshit some of the people all of the time!!! Standing by.



Desert Sailor

As an exchange officer I can only monitor "the news" from afar. However, I look forward to reading RJ's book. I've shared a bit of sand and travel with BW guys, never had an issue with their plans or actions.

RJ I appreciate your blog here. Far too often we only hear the "spun" side of the news, rather nice to see your background interviews and research. Keep up the good work.


hey w.k.l- my forehead to the floor- you are a lot more informed than me. Wackenhut does indeed have the nuke defense contract, and are at t.m.i.. I would learn more with my yap shut. And I did some more reading on wackenhut- holy. shit. Including the spy magazine article on how they supposedly helped bush sr. move the poison gas to saddam that he used on the kurds.


A good spy yarn is a seduction- like getting on an old amusement park ride that doesn't look like much. starts slow with a couple jerks and lurches. You put it down. You come bac, and before long, you're plunging to the depths and rocketing skyward, screaming and hanging on for dear life, and then you get in trouble at work cause you stayed up all damn night and have eyestrain. LOL


And the really great novels like LeCarres are like a giant swiss grandfather clock, you'd go nuts trying to see how everything goes together that makes it work so well. And what a movie- The Spy Who came In from the Cold- the endeing says it all. He started climbing the wall, but after they shot her he dropped to die with her. The death of his ideals. wonder when professor Lecarre went over that wall in his career.


just watched "the great raid", phillipines w.w.2. very graphic depiction of a network getting rolled up. nearly more than i could watch. we really were the good guys then. I think I can understand why some intelligence people are bitter when the public only sees the dark side of their work, and not the courage and tremendous sacrifice. Dufus is shutting up now. you people have important things to discuss.


not suprised that "sheep" blitzer considered Dr. Hillhouse too "heavy" for mainstream consumption. give us more britney

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  • 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.