“Digital Blackwater”: Meet the Contractors Who Analyze Your Personal Data
Private companies are getting rich examining your private information for the government. Here’s who they are.
By Tim Shorrock
June 10, 2013
Amid the torrent of stories about the shocking new revelations about the National Security Agency, few have bothered to ask a central question. Who’s actually doing the work of analyzing all the data, meta-data and personal information pouring into the agency from Verizon and nine key Internet Service Providers for its ever-expanding surveillance of American citizens?
Well, on Sunday we got part of the answer: Booz Allen Hamilton. In a stunning development in the NSA saga, Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald revealed that the source for his blockbuster stories on the NSA is Edward Snowden, “a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.” Snowden, it turns out, has been working at NSA for the last four years as a contract employee, including stints for Booz and the computer-services firm Dell.
The revelation is not that surprising. With about 70 percent of our national intelligence budgets being spent on the private sector – a discovery I made in 2007 and first reported in Salon – contractors have become essential to the spying and surveillance operations of the NSA.