Harriet Hands George the Osama Memo - Logo by Tengrain of Mock Paper Scissors
Today is the six year anniversary of the Presidential Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US."
This July 31st article in Alternet both confirms the date of the PDB, and walks us through the outsourcing of the most sensitive national security document: the President's Daily Brief.
We all know about Blackwater USA, which bills itself as "the most comprehensive professional military, law enforcement, security, peacekeeping, and stability operations company in the world." That's a fancy way of saying they are paid mercenaries. Founded in 1997 by an ex-Navy Seal, Blackwater was awarded a $21 million no-bid contract in August, 2003, to supply security guards and two helicopters for Paul Bremer, the head of the U.S. occupation in Iraq. The company also provides security for food shipments in the Fallujah area.
But what is not generally known is that the secret side of the Iraq War and the larger "war on terror" is also conducted by private corporations, fielding private spies. The reach of these corporations has extended into the Oval Office. Corporations are heavily involved in creating the analytical products that underlie the nation's most important and most sensitive national security document, the President's Daily Brief (PDB).
A question was raised in the comments to my post about King Dick, Granny asked "Who is pulling Dick Cheney's strings?" The answer becomes clear when we learn that 70 percent of the intelligence budget goes to private contractors.
And this is true of every branch of our Intelligence Network. Between 50-60% of the CIA's National Clandestine Service, which is responsible for the gathering of human intelligence, comes from employees of for-profit corporations.
Corporate intelligence professionals from companies such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC and others are thoroughly integrated into analytical divisions throughout the intelligence community, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It is the ODNI that produces the final document of the President's Daily Brief.
It was the PDB that warned on August 6, 2001, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US." Of course, the PDB has all kinds of corporate logos printed all over it, and the Alternet article indicates that it is almost impossible to tell if the work is the government's, or the corporate intelligence-gathering.
Concerned members of the intelligence community have told me that if a corporation wanted to insert items favorable to itself or its clients into the PDB to influence the US national security agenda, at this time it would be virtually undetectable. These companies have analysts and often intelligence collectors spread throughout the system and have the access to introduce intelligence into the system.
So when we have our most sensitive security analysis being done by people with allegiance to a private company, with private agendas, it tends to color that analysis. There is nothing fair, or balanced in any of this. It is all about who is going to turn a profit this year. Bush's allegiance is not to the citizens of the United States of America; it is to those various CEOs who drive the conversation. Cheney belongs to Halliburton.
And what do we expect of this Administration? Yesterday, August 5th, Mr. Bush signed into law a bill that broadly expanded the government’s authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants. I speak to people in foreign countries daily - I wonder how many of my conversations will be monitored? Free travel advice, get your fiber optics monitoring systems while they're hot!
Can this be fixed? Yes. It would take the Director of National Intelligence to develop a spine, acknowledge the problem, and mustering the political will and leadership to work toward a solution. It would take Congress to step in and Impeach those in charge who have consistently broken the laws of our nation. Speak up, people. Speak up.