Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Contractors’ role grows in drone missions, worrying some in the military

by David S Cloud McClatchy Washington DC  December 29, 2011

 After a U.S. airstrike mistakenly killed at least 15 Afghans in 2010, the Army officer investigating the accident was surprised to discover that an American civilian had played a central role: analyzing video feeds from a Predator drone keeping watch from above.

The contractor had overseen other analysts at Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field in Florida as the drone tracked suspected insurgents near a small unit of U.S. soldiers in rugged hills in central Afghanistan. Based partly on her analysis, an Army captain ordered an airstrike on a convoy that turned out to be carrying innocent men, women and children.

“What company do you work for?” Maj. Gen. Timothy McHale demanded of the contractor after he learned that she was not in the military, according to a transcript obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

“SAIC,” she answered

Her employer, SAIC Inc., is a publicly traded Virginia-based corporation with a multiyear $49 million contract to help the Air Force analyze drone video and other intelligence from Afghanistan.

Please read more here

December 30, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US spying spawns a dystopian epidemic

By David Isenberg at Asia Times

Considering revelations in recent years ranging from renditions, the overseas Central Intelligence Agency prison system, torture during interrogations and National Security Agency wiretapping, aka “warrantless surveillance”, it is difficult to claim, a-la Claude Rains in the movie Casablanca, that anyone is “shocked, shocked” to find the United States intelligence system so cumbersome that oversight is virtually impossible.

According to a Washington Post report last month, in a three-part series titled “Top Secret America” by Dana Priest and William Arkin, following a two-year investigation, “The government has built a national security and intelligence system so big, so complex and so hard to manage, no one really knows if it’s fulfilling its most important purpose: keeping citizens safe.”

The fact that the Post described a bureaucracy resembling the Oceanian province of Airstrip One in George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four – a world of perpetual war and pervasive government surveillance that allows the party to manipulate and control the public – is just icing on the cake for those who relish irony.

Read the entire story here

August 3, 2010 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption | , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Secret America A hidden world, growing beyond control

A Washington Post Investigation by Dana Priest and William Arken

The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.

These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

The investigation’s other findings include:

* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space.

Please read day one of the investigation here

July 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

“Rogue” Spy Ring Operating Despite Legal Doubts

U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts

By MARK MAZZETTI Published: May 15, 2010

WASHINGTON — Top military officials have continued to rely on a secret network of private spies who have produced hundreds of reports from deep inside Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to American officials and businessmen, despite concerns among some in the military about the legality of the operation.

Earlier this year, government officials admitted that the military had sent a group of former Central Intelligence Agency officers and retired Special Operations troops into the region to collect information — some of which was used to track and kill people suspected of being militants. Many portrayed it as a rogue operation that had been hastily shut down once an investigation began.

But interviews with more than a dozen current and former government officials and businessmen, and an examination of government documents, tell a different a story. Not only are the networks still operating, their detailed reports on subjects like the workings of the Taliban leadership in Pakistan and the movements of enemy fighters in southern Afghanistan are also submitted almost daily to top commanders and have become an important source of intelligence.

The American military is largely prohibited from operating inside Pakistan. And under Pentagon rules, the army is not allowed to hire contractors for spying.  Full Story here

May 16, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, CIA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Legal Jurisdictions, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , | Leave a comment