The blog of Edward Snowden’s girlfriend supplies all the sexiness that this story didn’t actually need. The last post broadcasts the author’s sadness at how “my world has opened and closed all at once,” and the previous output offers lots of detail about her dances.
More importantly, every news outlet that matters is out with a take on the Snowden sidebar: Just how have so many “consultants” gained access to secrets? Asking the question isn’t validating the security state, or the ridiculous level of classification in data. It’s asking how the government learned to be so wasteful. In the WSJ:
In a government filing last month, Booz Allen said that nearly a quarter of its most recent annual revenue, about $1.3 billion, came from its work with the intelligence community and that another 55%, about $3.2 billion, came from its defense business. More than two-thirds of Booz Allen’s 25,000 workers hold government security clearances, and more than a quarter of those hold the highest security clearance.
By 2010, the overall intelligence budget had grown by 250 percent since 2000. Nowhere was the growth larger than at the NSA. The budget there doubled, as did the physical infrastructure. The hidden Fort Meade complex includes as much square footage as the Pentagon and is surrounded by 112 acres of parking lots, according to military construction documents filed with Howard County. Ten thousand employees are to be added in the next 15 years, according to the plans.
In the AP:
The company has established deep ties with the government – the kinds of ties that contractors pursue and covet. Contractors stand to gain an edge on competitors by hiring people with the most closely held knowledge of the thinking inside agencies they want to serve and the best access to officials inside. That typically means former government officials.
The relationship often runs both ways: Clapper himself is a former Booz Allen executive. The firm’s vice chairman, John “Mike” McConnell, held Clapper’s position under George W. Bush.
Meanwhile, both Rand Paul and the ACLU are looking at legal options against the snoopers.
Mike Masnick misses Russ Feingold more then ever.