Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Is The Secretive Carlyle Group in Charge of Spying for America?


You have to wonder what Edward Snowden saw that was so horrific and egregious it would make him give up everything for nothing in return.  He was making around $200,000 a year working in paradise, now he will be on the run for the rest of his life.  It really makes me wonder about a lot of things that are going on. 

"You can't come forward against the world's most powerful intelligence agencies and be completely free from risk because they're such powerful adversaries. No one can meaningfully oppose them. If they want to get you, they'll get you in time.

But at the same time you have to make a determination about what it is that's important to you. And if living unfreely but comfortably is something you're willing to accept, and I think it many of us are it's the human nature; you can get up everyday, go to work, you can collect your large paycheck for relatively little work against the public interest, and go to sleep at night after watching your shows."
Edward Snowden

I started thinking, how is it that jobs that you thought only your government legally could do are being outsourced on a massive scale to private contractors.  Edward Snowden worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, so I started wondering, who is that contractor and how did they get this government contract?  

The Obama Administration claims they had no idea the spying program existed nor did they know world leaders were having their private communications spied on.

According to an article in the Washington Post by Neil Irwin, “Seven Facts About Booz Allen Hamilton”

Booz has 24,500 employees, $5.8 billion in revenue for its 2013 fiscal year, $219 million in profits and a stock market value of $2.5 billion.

It's majority-owned by the Carlyle Group.  Carlyle, who owns 67.3 percent of Booz Allen's stock, is a global private equity giant having $176 billion in assets managed in 114 different funds.

The article goes on to say that 99% of Booz Allen Hamilton's revenues come from services they provide to the U.S. government.  They reported operating income of less than $200 million on revenue of $5.1 billion.  That’s pretty staggering and what’s even more crazy is that their bottom line was 9 times higher in 2013 than it was in 2010.  That year, 2010 was the same year that the “tea party” came into existence and Republicans took over the House of Representatives.

So the U.S. government is the source of basically ALL of their $5.1 billion in revenue.  And, they are almost exclusively owned by the Carlyle Group.

Sometimes called the Ex-Presidents Club, Carlyle has a glittering array of ex-politicians andbig league bankers on its board. Former secretary of state James Baker is managing director while ex-secretary of defence Frank Carlucci is chairman. George Bush senior is an adviser. John Major heads up its European operations. 

In the wake of 11 September came a fear of anthrax attack. One company that benefited was Pittsburgh- based IT Group, which won a number of contracts to clean up anthrax-infected buildings, including the Hart Senate Office Building. Carlyle owned 25 per cent of the firm, which it subsequently sold on. Likewise its investment in US Investigation Services, a company that specialises in checking the background of employees, saw business improve dramatically.

Well, talk about taking lemons and making lemonade.  Not only did they make a shitload cleaning up after the anthrax attack, but they were able to use that as an excuse to go to war and war is where the Carlyle Group really makes a killing.

The Carlyle Group was the subject of a documentary called “Iron Triangle The Carlyle Group” the Bush family, the Saudi Royal family, Osama Bin Laden’s family and Donald Rumsfeld’s inner circle are just some of the high profile figures who have played a direct role in the rise of one of the most powerful and influential and secretive firms in Washington.

So the Carlyle Group has been conducting all the spying and surveillance in the U.S. that encompasses every country and government in the world.    Under the Obama Administration more whistleblowers and journalist have been threatened and prosecuted than under all other presidents combined.  

According to an article in Mother Jones titled “Obama’s War on Whistleblowers”, this White House has leaked information favorable to Obama without regard for National Security while crushing whistleblowers who release information that is not favorable. 

So if these private contractors conduct surveillance on everyone in the United States and the World including World Leaders, what is to keep them from cherry picking information that will further enrich or empower themselves even if it means spying on world leaders or to an extreme, having them eliminated?

The secret information is used by Obama to determine who will be killed in extrajudicial drone attacks.  What’s to keep these private contractors from passing on the names of their adversaries for elimination by the Obama Administration?

In an article written in The Nation by Lee Fang titled “How Spy Agency Contractors Have Already Abused Their Powers”, the dangers of these agencies contracted by the U.S. Government to Spy are enumerated.

Could the sprawling surveillance state enable government or its legion of private contractors to abuse their technology and spy upon domestic political targets or judges?

Two years ago, a batch of stolen e-mails revealed a plot by a set of three defense contractors (Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and HBGary Federal) to target activists, reporters, labor unions and political organizations.

The plans— one concocted in concert with lawyers for the US Chamber of Commerceto sabotage left-leaning critics, like the Center for American Progress and the SEIU, and a separate proposal to “combat” WikiLeaks and its supporters, including Glenn Greenwald, on behalf of Bank of America— fell apart after reports of their existence were published online.

The episode also shows that Greenwald, who helped Snowden expose massive spying efforts in the United States, had been targeted by spy agency contractors in the past for supporting whistleblowers and WikiLeaks.

While Palantir boasts that its government-backed technology is geared towards helping the military track terrorists, stolen e-mails from HBGary Federal show the firm and its senior executives were eager to use its platform on behalf of the Chamber, one of the largest corporate lobbying associations.

In the fall of 2010, the Chamber had received unflattering attention, first from a New York Times piece about allegedly laundered money from AIG, and then from my reporting at the Center for American Progress’ Think Progress blog about foreign funds flowing to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6) entity used to run campaign advertisements. 

So according to Lee Fang’s Nation Magazine article, in the fall of 2010 (the year the tea party took over the house) the Chamber of Commerce allegedly laundered funds from AIG and facilitated the flowing of foreign funds to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6) entity to run campaign advertisements.   Are the secret spy agencies funded by the U.S. Government using information to affect the outcomes of elections to ensure an uninterrupted flow of governmental money into their coffers?  I think the answer is yes.

An article in the Oregonian entitled “Wyden, Blumenauer say private contractors play too powerful a role in spy agencies”,

Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer told a Portland audience Friday that the U.S.intelligence network relies too heavily on hundreds of thousands of private contractors who have gained top security clearances.

In addition, Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said after their appearance that the panel is close to releasing a report showing that contractors played a major role in the "interrogations and torture" of terrorism suspects.

Blumenauer, who has also been critical of government surveillance activities, said some 500,000 contractors are among the one million Americans who have top-security classifications.

Sheesh, who doesn’t have top-security classification.  Is it any wonder that Edward Snowden feared for his life?  Is it any wonder the Glenn Greenwald fears for his freedom as an investigative reporter protected by the First Amendment?  Why was Michael Savage banned in Britain?  It doesn’t make any sense. 

Why were warnings from Russia about Tamerlan Tsarnaev ignored by the FBI?  Would a terrorist attack on Boston suit the purposes of these private spying contractors?

I think there’s a lot to be learned in knowing more about these “private, secret societies” like the Carlyle Group that are conducting our spying.  We need to know how much these agencies have gained financially since 9/11/01

By Patricia Baeten