Back in 1991, the general consensus of the Intelligence community was that America needed a strong Russia. An internally strong and stable Russia was and is the biggest stable Democratic government in the hemisphere. Russians bore the weight of dismantling the Soviet Union. For the same reasons America knew it needed a strong Russia back then, it has decided it doesn’t want Russia anymore today.
A strong Russia provides stability throughout the region. Without a strong and stable Russia, the massive Russian Federation would descend into small nationalist countries. Warring nations and instability would be the norm and not the exception.
Russia needs an internally and externally strong America. Quite frankly, the world does. A weak America that is susceptible to overthrow would be the largest threat that nobody wants to talk about. Part of being a strong America is having 1st rate Intelligence services.
If America’s Intelligence capabilities are questionable and can’t be trusted, there is no single greater threat to the planet today. The parts of an Intelligence community that try to circumvent the democratic process need to rot in prison no matter who they are.
This 3 part article series is a top-down look at the deep state. Its purpose isn’t to identify every company and every player. Instead, this lead-in is a primer showing the layout of the land at the highest levels and why things have gone so very wrong inside the Intelligence community.
The second part will show how the top level relates to the next level down with contractors and companies that deal with public issues, public policy, and commit illegal actions. You’ll see what it looks like when people that have taken the mantle of national security use the tools for their own profit, politics, and prejudices.
This won’t be an intellectual exercise but will show graphic examples of people guiding and pushing fake agendas today. You’ll see clearly the damage they are doing to American citizens that have never been questioned or warned that these things could possibly happen to them in a democratic society.
The third part will explicitly show how this threat translates into the real world to unsuspecting people because they didn’t agree with someone they don’t even know exists. This is the reality when the destruction of your life, reputation, wealth, employment, and relationships become a payable item on someone else’s invoice. The sad fact is your innocence means as much to them as the pleas for mercy from the last “bad guy” they shot in a video game. For them, it’s only a game. You are a troll, not a human being.
The Intel community lost the ability to police itself during the Gulf war under George W. Bush’s tenure as president. While there remains a majority of intelligence professionals dedicated to public service, the nature of their work keeps them from even being able to talk about the corporate vultures that have taken over the industry and turned it into a for-profit venture that has little to do with national security.
In 2005, Dr. RJ Hillhouse described this problem with the US intelligence community as it was still developing. Her first Mother Jones article “The Spy Who Billed Me” began a short-lived, unfinished debate on the dangers of using contractors for intelligence work.
Because of how undeveloped the US National Security Apparatus was going into the digital age, after 9/11 the US Government tried to shorten the learning curve by hiring contractors in droves to make up the gap in actionable intelligence.
Hillhouse closes her article with- “But with the contracting boom continuing unchecked, such controls are unlikely — which means, says Pike of GlobalSecurity.org, that America’s spy network could soon resemble NASA’s mission control room in Houston. “Most people, when they see that room, think they’re looking at a bunch of NASA people,” Pike notes. “But it’s 90 percent contractors.”
By 2007, Hillhouse demonstrated that corporations, companies, and industry personalities were now starting to illegally oversee their own intelligence services and other companies instead of the agencies that are tasked with governing and controlling them.
According to her CBS article “Outsourcing National Intelligence” -The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) revealed in May that 70 percent of the intelligence budget goes to contractors.
For all practical purposes, effective control of the NSA is with private corporations, which run its support and management functions. As the Washington Post’s Walter Pincus reported last year, more than 70 percent of the staff of the Pentagon’s newest intelligence unit, CIFA (Counterintelligence Field Activity), is made up of corporate contractors.
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) lawyers revealed at a conference in May that contractors make up 51 percent of the staff in DIA offices. At the CIA, the situation is similar. Between 50 and 60 percent of the workforce of the CIA’s most important directorate, the National Clandestine Service (NCS), responsible for the gathering of human intelligence, is composed of employees of for-profit corporations.”
While the numbers themselves are shocking, remember, these are 2007 numbers. At the same time, Agencies according to the law are supposed to physically keep oversight over the companies and contractors. All Intelligence was supposed to be filtered and a neutral report written by the agency before it was put into the POTUS daily briefing. This briefing is singly the most important document produced because of its potential impact on the world. From it, the president of the USA decides:
- Who is the enemy?
- Who is friendly (there really aren’t any friends out there)?
- Who is a danger and how?
- Why are they a danger?
- What is their motivation?
- What steps will the US need to take to stop them, turn them in a different direction, or make peace with them?
Dr. Hillhouse describes what being in the Intel community during the Cold War was like being a part of an extended family. Everyone was doing the work because of a commitment to public service. People counted on each other and looked after each other.
By 2007 this was no longer the case. The critical departments of the agencies themselves were EXTRA-LEGALLY almost fully privatized. It’s not a stretch to say that for some of the most secret and sensitive work in Intel was staffed by what amounts to day hires.
She describes the change in the Intel community as cataclysmic because it went from that strong tight-knit family setting to resembling groups of problem kids in foster homes because everybody was temporary and there was no commitment to them, job security, or real bonafide oversight.
In an earlier article detailing the rise and dangers of private contractors accessing Vault 7 tools, it becomes clear that to be a star in the new Intel community, the only qualification is knowing how to network. And it helps if you hate the right people. One of the biggest stars of Intel over the last decade is a former gift shop cashier that had no Intelligence experience or training.
In that article, I asked Professor Michael Jasinsky Assistant Professor Department of Political Science University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh about this. Professor Jasinski had oversight over researchers that were later hired by US Intel agencies and provided evaluations of them prior to their employment.
His comments show why a radical cleanup in both Intel and counter-terrorism needs to happen. With the following statement he also added that their obvious patriotic feelings were real, but: “Considering how the intelligence community is depicted in the media or in the movies (and clearly CIA “outreach” plays a role here), you’d think Jedi Knights. The Justice League. Gandalf. But if you ever had personal contact with the “three-letter agencies” for any period of time, you’d think different. My most recent experience with the “intelligence” community was at MIIS, post-9/11 when the agencies were coming there to hire, and they were hiring big. They hired many of my research assistants–I was doing what might be termed “open-source intelligence” on WMD proliferation–and in the process, they’d ask me, their immediate supervisor, for my opinion. So I’d tell them point-blank: can’t read, can’t write, can’t analyze. I don’t care what their CV says, the only language they can function in at any level is English. No matter, they’d get hired anyway. Drug convictions? No matter, they’d get hired anyway (at least at the time, the CIA would hire you if you didn’t have any drug convictions within the last 3 years). Scary political views they wore on their sleeve? No matter, they’d get hired anyway. All of my good assistants went to work for the UN, IAEA, major NGOs. The dregs went to “intelligence.” So now when I see a) the “Russian interference” stories and b) the inability to safeguard, and presumably use responsibly, your own cyber-warfare arsenal, I can’t say I’m exactly surprised. But there are no shortcuts in this kind of work. If you rapidly expand at the cost of dramatically lowering standards, you (and the country) are going to pay a price. We’re paying it right now..”
Because their job depends on contracts being won or lost, there was no longer a commitment to public service. People take real Intel from one company to another, to another, and so on. Hillhouse noted that out of work spies do what spies do best…they spy and sell secrets.
“More than 70 percent of the Pentagon’s Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) unit is staffed by contractors, known as ‘ green badgers ’ , who also represent the majority of personnel in the DIA, the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, and the National Counterterrorism Center. At the CIA’s station in Islamabad contractors reportedly outnumber government employees three to one.” –‘ We Can’t Spy … If We Can’t Buy! ’ : The Privatization of Intelligence and the Limits of Outsourcing ‘ Inherently Governmental Functions ’ Simon Chesterman- The European Journal of International Law Vol. 19 no. 5 © EJIL 2008;
- Chesterman’s paper discusses the role of private companies as torturers and there is little doubt that they carried out waterboarding. Beyond torture, almost every Intelligence and most field roles are being turned over to private companies that get contracts because of “new” problems, crises, influence operations, hacking, danger, threats, or dossiers their companies or related companies happen to find.
- A 2006 report of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence noted that the intelligence community increasingly finds itself in competition with its contractors: Confronted by arbitrary staffing ceilings and uncertain funding, components are left with no choice but to use contractors for work that may be borderline ‘ inherently governmental ’ – only to find that to do that work, those same contractors recruit our own employees, already cleared and trained at government expense, and then ‘ lease ’ them back to us at considerably greater expense.
If you look at the LinkedIn profiles for either Intel community corporation principals and any of the department heads and other leadership positions in government agencies, the revolving door pattern is there.
Chesterman’s paper identifies work given to corporations or individuals that should remain a strictly governmental function is now in the hands of companies that do it for hire. For-profit companies are behind most of what the Intel the agency heads and POTUS see. For-profit, companies look after their own bottom line.
Because they are committed to their companies and not public service, the lines have been blurred to the point that some of these contractors no longer distinguish between the work they do for US Intelligence and Security and what they can do legally in the civilian world. There is no difference and they have no problem plying the same tools and techniques on an unsuspecting public.
In a Washington Post Editorial titled “The Value of ‘Private Spies” which was meant to answer Dr. Hillhouse’s accusations of corruption and mismanagement, the DNI tried to deflect it by giving a much lower percentage of contractors than it was using. The ODNI did recognize the inherent danger of using private companies for Intel and direct action work in the following statement. -“Our workforce has recovered to the point that we can begin to shed some contract personnel or shift them away from core mission areas, and the CIA is leading the way in this. But contract personnel will remain a vital component of the intelligence community, working side by side with government employees to keep our nation safe. RONALD P. SANDERS Associate Director of National Intelligence Office of the Director of National Intelligence
So, ok, that was 11 years ago. Did the ODNI make good on taking control back from private companies that profit on national security problems? Nope. How are things shaping up in the Intel community today?
In a 2015 article at The Nation titled “How Private Contractors Have Created a Shadow NSA” Tim Shorrock describes the unthinkable. This one sentence encapsulates it: “This small company, and INSA itself are vivid examples of the rise of a new class in America: the cyberintelligence ruling class…
…Over the last 15 years, thousands of former high-ranking intelligence officials and operatives have left their government posts and taken up senior positions at military contractors, consultancies, law firms, and private-equity firms. In their new jobs, they replicate what they did in government—often for the same agencies they left. But this time, their mission is strictly for-profit.”
Many of the principal figures come from America’s wealthiest families. Although the wealthiest have always had a lead in filling policy and cabinet positions, this time the public service aspect is missing.
Shorrock goes on to detail how the same 1% Americans claim to be fighting is the cyberintelligence elite that controls the media. Mathew Olsen is an example as the former National Counterterrorism Center director and current IronNet Corp. president. He joined ABC as a commentator. He goes further and shows how this is the rule and not the exception.
This is going on all across media channels. Every network has their own cyber intel 1 percenter to talk through the facts, but their conflicts of interest almost always remain hidden.
The other point Shorrock noted was that their storylines are almost always their companies position. They are why the networks don’t deviate often from the official version of things because they provide the official version to the US government.
If it looks like US Intel and the media networks are all working from the exact same narrative, it’s because they are. Even the narratives are developed by former military that isn’t interested in facts. They are interested in winning- for their reputations, for their companies, for their careers.
By using narrative builders the Intel Elite (1%) avoid Information Fratricide. This happens when there are opposing views to a given situation which neutralize the point you want to push.
“If you write or read outside agendized news, you are not “our side” anymore. The reason is that news that makes “our side” look bad or builds dissenting opinions make the work of IO/IIO professionals difficult or impossible. It’s called Information Fratricide. Information fratricide is defined as Actions, perceptions, and information from friendly forces that create improper impressions can adversely affect IO in sensitive situation.”
This means everyone in media has to follow the same narrative. Stopping information fratricide was why Propornot was rolled out.
As this was developing journalist Robert Parry noted– “But the major Western news outlets began to see journalism differently,” he wrote. “It became their strange duty to shut down questioning of the Official Story, even when the Official Story had major holes and made little sense, even when the evidence went in a different direction and serious analysts were disputing the groupthink.”
Chesterman makes the only point this boils down to as far as Spies for hire are concerned-“The simplest way of containing some of the problems outlined in this article would be to forbid certain activities that are inherently governmental from being delegated or outsourced to private actors at all.”
A 1992 Policy letter from the OFP(Office of Federal Procurement) listed anything that can significantly affect the life, liberty, or property of private persons as inherently governmental. This included direction and control of Intelligence and counter-intelligence operations.
In 1998, the Congressional legislation didn’t help …”(criminalizing) private companies are forbidden from taking roles that are inherently governmental functions like warfighting, judicial, enforcement, regulatory, and policy-making functions … Certain other capabilities, … such as those directly linked to national security, also be retained in-house to help ensure effective mission execution.”
Inherently governmental functions were defined as anything so related to the public interest that it required performance by government employees.
In 2002, the same notations and The ODNI in its 2006 ‘ Five Year Strategic Human Capital Plan ’ noted that OMB had requested it to conduct a study to determine whether contractors were engaged in intelligence community work that was ‘ “ inherently governmental ” and hence improper.
The agencies have not taken this or the threat contracting has opened up serious enough to adopt or apply these definitions. As a result, companies run by the 1% are destroying democracy by creating deeper inequalities. They have destroyed the 4th estate. Having the semblance of a free press isn’t having a free and unrestricted press.
When people can’t get the facts to judge governmental actions, the government can do no wrong because there are no freedoms, rights, or protections left for the people. People engaged in real criminal activity can do no wrong and there is no accountability possible.
When I started researching this 3 years ago, it was from the bottom up. In the 2 follow-up articles, the way the very top of the pyramid interacts with the boots on the ground practitioners in the new American reality will be shown clearly.
There isn’t a better way to explain the top down than through the lens of the researchers above showing the clear and present danger to the country, the fabric of society, and the American political system. And lastly but not least the safety of the world.