06 June, 2007

$60 billion intel budget--70 percent to contractors

The FAS site on secrecy links to a DIA powerpoint and some recent articles on how to decipher the things left unsaid (including the use of the Powerpoint edit function--will these people ever learn?). The result: the intelligence budget is a lot larger than generally believed, and 70 percent of it is going to private contractors.

As a matter of principle, I have no problem with contracting it out. The contracted work could well be better--except when (a) the contractor, claiming "trade secrets," can avoid oversight, and/or (b) the contractor is so dependent on the renewal of a contract that it gives the client what the client wants to hear. Condition (a) means there's no way for Congress to know what's going on. Condition (b) turns the outside contractor into a yes-man for whatever administration is in power. Put (a) and (b) together, we have a self-reinforcing set of illusions--and everyone pays for it.

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