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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.

« Pentagon Asserts Authority Over Contractors--Finally | Main | Congrats to WaPo's Steve Fainaru »

April 02, 2008

Comments

Retired

CIFA was created by former SecDef Rumsfeld after 9/11 because he felt that the federal agencies charged with domestic counterintelligence, like the FBI, for instance, weren't doing the job to his liking. One of the things that really rubbed Rumsfeld the wrong way about these agencies was their insistence in being bound by U.S. law in general and the Constitution in particular. Unfortunately for Rumsfeld and CIFA, it ran into the brotherhood of law enforcement, which includes the FBI and law enforcement agencies of DHS, but not non-cops like CIFA. This was somewhat akin to being subjected to the proverbial mushroom treatment.

I am familiar with the "office space dodge" alluded to in the post. It is very lucrative--and totally in violation of most USG procurement regulations, some of which even have the force of law. In fact, a client of mine was approached by a federal agency, who will remain nameless, proposing the "real estate dodge." When I mentioned that they didn't have the authority to handle the leasing of office space that way, they (1) espressed surprise that anyone in a small, private sector firm was that conversant with USG procurement regs, and (2) alluded to some vague authority that they had that was derived from the then-DCI's special authority to handle such things if required for the operational security of an intelligence operation. We said, "Fine, give us proof in writing of said authority and we're good to go." They never returned, and we never got invovled in a deal where, essentially, a private contractor charges their lease cost plus add on administrative labor cost plus G&A plus ten percent fee to sublease space. A sweet deal if you can get it, until the IG comes knocking at your door.

Tony Foresta

Intriguing commentary Retired.

Further, Dr. Hillhouse asserts that "Over 30 corporations provide 90% of CIFA's staff--that's a blue green ratio of 1:9. CIFA's prime contractors are the usual suspects such as SAIC."

At the risk of being redundant, your commentary and Dr Hillhouse's reportage, along with this article http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14898 involving CIFA, QuinetiQ, and Stephen Cambone are yet more glaring proofs of the incestuous interpenetrating tentacles connecting PIC's and PMC's directly to the wanton profiteerings in the Bush government.

The rotten of meat of the connection is accurately detailed here: "A Pentagon office that claims to monitor terrorist threats to U.S. military bases in North America -- and was once reprimanded by the U.S. Congress for spying on antiwar activists -- has just awarded a multi-million dollar contract to a company that employs one of Donald Rumsfeld’s former aides. That aide, Stephen Cambone, helped create the very office that issued the contract."

This kind perfidy is far beyond revolving door practices, and expose the secretive implementation of a shadow government in the form of private contractors beholden to, feeding and eventually employing select wanton profiteers in the Bush government who then insidiously award nobid, openended multi hundred million dollar contracts to the shadow government the wanton profiteers and fascists in the Bush government are erecting behind the peoples back, without review, recourse or remedy for abuse, and sans accounting.

It is a closed circuit, and the fascists in the Bush government are reaping obscene fortunes at every turn, coming and going.

anonymous

Some corrections:

1. CIFA was not "created by Rumsfeld"; the guys at CIFA knew Rumsfeld would crap all over their vague, open-ended charter (DoD Directive 5105.67) before he ever signed it. They had it approved by Paul Wolfowitz (as DEPSECDEF) while Rumsfeld was out of the office. Wolfowitz apparently never read anything he signed, as his signature was also on the memo approving the TALON program.

2. CIFA needed to be shuttered (relocated, actually) for very good reasons having nothing to do with all the "bad press" which Dr. Hillhouse notes above.

3. Certainly the people at CIFA were capricious about spending the taxpayers money, but remember that was at a time when the IC was awash in post-9-11 money and the national imperative was to "fix national security". Yes, much of what they did was boondoggle, but no more so than any other rapidly-grown agency did during that time.

4. The real problem with CIFA, which the good doctor completely misses, is that it is run by Law Enforcement-types who know little about actual counterintelligence work. Their version of CI looks an awful lot like the FBI's failed model.

Tony Foresta

Some questions:

Are you asserting anonymous | April 02, 2008 at 19:27, that DEPSECDEF Wolfowitz approved the creation of CIFA without the SECDEF's knowledge or blessing?

Does the need to "shutter", or "relocate actually" CIFA involve political or infrastructure dynamics and necessities or is there some other unknown unknown factor that the American people cannot know "for national security" reasons?

Given that "the people at CIFA were capricious about spending the taxpayers money", that CIFA was conjured at "...a time when the IC was awash in post-9-11 money and the national imperative was to "fix national security", and that finally "much of what they did was boondoggle, but no more so than any other rapidly-grown agency did during that time." - and adding the given the either Wolfowitz or Rumfeld signed off on "(DoD Directive 5105.67)" creating CIFA, - do you expect this American to be comforted or allayed in any way by these odious givens?


Correction 4, would indicate, that after, all these years, and all these billions of the people's dollar's "capriciously" spent, that the IC and "national security" is still NOT "fixed".

That said, - are, or were the law enforcement types running CIFA operationally linked to the Pentagon, or the FBI?

Is there no balm in Gilead?

R J Hillhouse

Anon, Thanks for the comments. I'm the first to admit I'm no CIFAologist, but I do take issue with some of your "corrections."

1. You seem to be asserting here that CIFA was created by some unknown guys who manipulated Wolfowitz into signing the charter because he never read what he was signing. I have a hard time believing that a new member of the IC was created this way. Wolfowitz's signature on TALON is hardly indication that he didn't read things he signed. My understanding was the CIFA was Wolfowitz's baby.

2. To clarify, I am not at all saying that the bad press was the reason CIFA needed to be closed down. It had much more to do with chronic mismanagement and unclear mission.

3. There are/were most definitely bigger boondoggles in terms of dollars during those early years when billions were sloshing around the Beltway. NSA waste in a single year can dwarf CIFA expenditures throughout its entire history. Groundbreaker anyone?

However, CIFA has arguably been the greatest squandering of post-9/11 resources of any member of the Intelligence Community in terms of percentage of their overall resource usage and accomplishments or lack thereof--although some may make a similar case for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

4. I won't challenge your assertion that CIFA is run by types who don't know CI. This is most likely one of the major flaws of the agency. However, it's my understanding that CIFA's activities clashed with the FBI and other law enforcement types. I have no direct knowledge of the backgrounds of individuals working for CIFA, save for multiple open positions announcements for contracting work there. I do not recall any contractors looking for "law enforcement types," but do seem to recall they were usually searching for run of the mill analysts. Regardless, your point here is well taken.

Retired

CIFA not created by Rumsfeld? I thought that cabinet secretaries were responsible for everything that their departments did or failed to do. If Rumsfeld was such a detail oriented person (which I can attest to because I worked for him at one time), I find it hard to believe that the creation of CIFA by Wolfowitz totally escaped his notice, and, by definition, his approval. Rumsfeld's tenure as SecDef, particularly in the realm of intelligence, was generally marked by attempts to use DoD's 800 pound gorilla budget and status to take over missions that Rumsfeld coveted.

There is a certain truth to the perception by intelligence professionals that CIFA, ironically, either had little practical experience with CI or was unwilling to use the experience that it may have had to create a real counterintelligence capability. And there was definitely a similarity in CIFA's approach to CI and that of the Bureau. Strangely, there was comparatively little cooperation between CIFA and the Bureau, though. I interpret this to be because of the Bureau's traditional desire to both protect its turf as well as keep things legal in CONUS. And their perception of legal and above board comes from a very disciplined law enforcement perspective.

Anonymous correctly asserts that after 9/11 there was a lot of money thrown around and a lot of exhortations by our political leadership to go out and do God's work. Since the vast majority of the money being tossed was in the form of program dollars, vs employee positions, a 10-90 situation like CIFA isn't surprisng. That it lasted as long as it did after the departure of Wolowitz and Rumsfeld is a indication of bureaucratic inertia.

Tony Foresta

It would seem, based on the comments above, the original post, and "other" research that instead of improving the collation and sharing of information, or reducing redundant missions and operations, or working in concert with the traditional government intelligence agencies, organizations, and bureaus formulating the intelligence product post 9/11, - the Bush government, and the VP Cheney, and SECDEF Rumsfeld, and DEPSECDEF Wolfowitz specifically intentionally complicated the collation of, and refused to share information, - contaminated the intelligence product with dodgy sources, sexed-up exaggerations, and cherrypicked blandishments, - attempted to commandeer control of the acquisition, analysis, and distribution of the intelligence product - and intentionally increased redundant missions and operations by contracting mirror services and operations tasked with conforming the intelligence product to pre-existing policies.


Wanton profiteering ensued, followe by much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but no reliable accounting, and absolutely zero accountability.


Riddle me this insiders, - do our (the peoples, America's) myriad and sundry government intelligence agencies, organizations, and bureau's, - and evidently PIC's as well - share and collate information, and is that intelligence product more reliable, or more actionable?

Are the turf and budget battles between the various agencies, organizations, bureaus, and PIC’s diminishing, or increasing?

Do PIC's operate under the same guidelines and mandates as government assets and entities, when vetting, analyzing, distributing, and acting on information or “actionable intelligence”?

Do PIC's share and collate all actionable intelligence or vital information with government agencies, organizations, or bureaus'?


Can anyone, and public servant, or expert here allay my concerns that elements in the Bush government succeeded in commandeering control of the intelligence product?

Black Flag

As far as the "mystery" work that people have been doing at CIFA its a project called Portico. It was originally implemented by Oracle, and it was TEEEEEERRIBLE. Alot of the money spent over the last 3 years has been an attempt to overhaul Portico so that it can actually be used. I will absolutely agree that CIFA is mismanaged. If Portico had been implemented properly, it'd be a useful intelligence gathering tool that blankets all branches of the DoD.

Nosmo King

It seems to me that this whole site is nothing more than a blatant attempt to promote this woman's book via marketing of all her mentions in various media outlets. If the USG cannot staff itself with Government employees and must hire contractors to make up the shortfall, what's the big deal? Would she prefer that the work not get done?

R J Hillhouse

LMAO. I can think of no more inefficient way to sell a book.

Since you obviously didn't read the site to any extent, there is no sense in any further comment.

-RJH

J.

Not that I know anything about CIFA's creation, but would you speculate that Cambone's fingerprints were on the Directive? Also, I have heard that CIFA's being disestablished does not mean the function is going away. Look to DIA picking up this "mission."

Dawn

I realize I am reading this post and its comments late so my comment is late but I am leaving a comment anyhow so that readers understand problems with CIFA that weren't addressed to this point on this webpage.

I run federal operations for a company that invented a tech standard called "smart wallet" by NIST. In December of 2001 we were offered a 100 % financing package from a non-democracy and declined its offer because our mission excluded operating in non-democracies. While I know I am not to disclose the non-democracy's name, you all know which nation I am referencing because it has been a common thread in the Abramoff and Cunningham corruption probes.

The non-democracy's offer kept being sweetened until July of 2003 when its agent disappeared and we suspect, in short, was murdered. The agent by January of 2002 began to tell us that everyone who needed to be bought in the U.S. to force us to accept the non-democracy's offer, had been. VP Cheney and his family had and still has special interests with the non-democracy and I linked the Cheneys to many of our hardships, so actually, the buying-off U.S. officials went as high as the VP's office...but Rove was involved and I do know what finally got him canned.

In January of 2002 we learned from western European investment bankers that the non-democracy was overrun by organized crime at its highest ranks. Though the 1999 dotcom crash still was underway and the bankers hadn't an alternative financing offer to make, they advised us to continue to decline the 100+ % financing offer from the non-democracy.

No respectable company wants to become owned by the Mafia. Furthermore, the culture in the non-democracy was to murder senior leadership of companies and put the mafia's "own" in control of the company. To have accepted that offer would have resulted in the CEO's murder and all seed capital investor would have lost their shares.

In November of 2004 I concluded with full certainty that the DHS leadership, Executive Branch and Legislative Branch were working for the mafia. We blew the dust off of a German state's financing package dating back to 5/03 and took moves to become German. Tom Ridge was fired 3 days later with the explanation from General Hayden to Fox News that day that it was because Ridge had failed to fund the next-generation of technologies. Approximately 2 1/2 weeks later the General gave a 2nd explanation to the public: Ridge failed to dedicate staff to medium and long-term planning.

In effect, in 11/04 I sent a message and Gen. Hayden and the President replied. I didn't move to Germany but kept USG operations open. Months later my biz partner moved the German office to France.

It is more than 3 1/2 years since Ridge was fired, and the reasons for the firing of Ridge weren't addressed! CIFA is a major reason why! While we applied business ethics and refused to operate and become owned by a non-democracy and the mob, CIFA's contractors were operating in the non-democracy. Many were there before the non-democracy had a newly elected president in 2000 who immediately began rolling-back democratic reforms. Rather than to pull-out, our major defense suppliers committed special interest acts for the non-democracy in the U.S., including perpetual sabotage of the smart walet inventor. Bank accounts always were sabotaged when we tried to pay the patent attorney. This continued after Dusty Foggo was gone and General Hayden became the CIA Director. As we were to close on venture capital financing over the year, we would be blackballed each time, and the deals always fell through. Then there were those cameras in my bedroom and areas where I dressed in my house. Images were posted to the internet and then my county PC's office was called to have me taken into custody on internet pornography felonies. Federal law enforcement intervened to prevent my being locked-up. CIFA scumbag contractors even tried to have me committed to a NYS asylum on the grounds it is insane to run USG operations for a company with an invention from my house, and my county (Nassau, NY) Department of
Social Services was stupid enough to pursue the case so that I was forced to curbside to show a psychiatrist, supervisor and social worker documents and a device classified by the USG for only a bit longer, just to prove I am legit and not living in a fantasy world. Of course, if I were a fraud, the appropriate action would have been for a customer to sue civilly and DoSS belonged nowhere near my home interrupting my day to infringe on my civil rights! DoSS needed to stick to its mission of focusing on substance abusers, victims of domestic abuse and the domestic abusers.

There later were two ill-disguised buyout offers and the 2nd included information provided about a French office's condition that 3 1/2 weeks later we found to be true. The second buyout offer was on the morning Dusty Foggo's home and office were raided. The AP already linked Foggo and Brent Wilkes to the non-democracy in an article around August of '06.

Importantly, the coup we discovered in our French office 3 1/2 weeks after Foggo was forced from office didn't force its failure. 2 1/2 months after Foggo's home and office were raided the secret CIA contract was reinstated. We don't know if CIA money that was used in the next coup, but we do know CIFA's Lockheed that operates in the non-democracy and had Lynne Cheney on Lockheed's Board of Directors into 9/03 was involved. Lockheed also controls the DHS' credentialing programs and refused to work with my company as a favor to the non-democracy.

Coming to a court room in less than 4 months there may be more to this account than I revealed as evidence is heard at the Foggo trial.

I also know that the non-democracy's mob leaders orchestrated 911 and the attacks on our allies' transportation infrastructure since. Attacks are rainmakers for this ethnic mafia which invested in our defense suppliers (most are publicly traded) working CIFA contracts, and could learn through CIFA contractors what the contractors were doing to help-out the non-democracy. This included sabotage of my company to force us to accept one of the non-democracy's offers. Things grew so bad that by early 2003 the non-democracy even was doing business with my cousin's investment bank, and I had to drop communication with him because he didn't understand he was "sleeping" with the mob.

Shareholders vote-in the Board of Directors who then select senior leadership. It is very possible that all our major defense suppliers have leadership loyal to the non-democracy installed, and not to Americans. Obviously this means CIFA contractors, too, have a loyalty to the non-democracy and not Americans.

Importantly, CIFA became a vehicle for the planners and financiers of 911 to make dividend income off of the contracts that then was siphoned (dividends) into more attacks every time we began to open competition on contracts to companies not owned by the non-democracy's mob leadership. More of the dividend income was siphoned into bribing USG officials to cut back room deal contracts and have members of Congress attach earmarks to Appropriations Bills that awarded no-bid contracts to the non-democracy/mob's investment companies.

"The whole is only as good as the sum of its individual parts." I know from experience 90 % of CIFA was not doing their work to protect Americans, but to perform the special interest acts of a non-democracy/the mafia/our 2001 attackers so that the attackers could further personally enrich themselves.

There is an old fashioned saying that "once you've drawn the mob's affections, they never go away/leave you alone." It is more than 6 1/2 years since our technology became the admiration of the mafia, and management has yet to find justice for being punished by our own government's officials for refusing to become mob/2001 conspirator-owned. 90% of CIFA's staff--the contractors, was a major contributor as to why my company still is being punished for not selling to the non-democracy/our attackers, and all because CIFA contractors played the role (performed the duties) of mob foot soldiers and 911-insiders.

Since 90 % of CIFA acts as members of the mafia and 911-insiders, of course, it was time to close it. The Mafia and 911-insiders have how much info about Americans now that they never should have been able to learn? Americans cannot have an agency that is performing duties that brings harm to their welfare and that is exactly what CIFA was doing. Besides, in all likelihood sometime after the election Americans will be learning who orchestrated 911. 90 % of CIFA--its contractors will become banned from federal contracting in the aftermath. Closing CIFA is a way to end the contractors' contracts in advance of the pending news.

The closing of CIFA suggests that federal investigators' investigation of its activities likely is nearly done. It is almost two years since CIFA's leaders resigned in scandal and by now it could be expected the investigation is near its close.

David H Brooks

This whole thing is very surprising and intriguing no doubt. Anyway it gives us some unknown information.

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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.