Intel Agencies Can't Explain High Use of Private Contractors

Data is inconsistent and incomplete


Private contractors play a huge role in the government, particularly in civilian intelligence services like the CIA. Contracting critics say it's an addiction whose overhead costs drive up the federal budget and leads to data breaches like the kind perpetrated by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

In the wake of last year's NSA revelations, many agencies have been reviewing their contracting policies. But few people have a good grasp on just how many contractors the government employs. What's worse, the country's eight civilian intelligence agencies often can't sufficiently explain what they use those contractors for, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

Every year, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is supposed to count how many contractors serve the intelligence community (IC). Due to differences in the way intelligence agencies define and assess their workers, however, the data are inconsistent and in some places incomplete. Out of hundreds of agency records, for example, GAO found that almost a fifth lacked enough paperwork to prove how much a contractor was paid. Another fifth of the records were found to have either over-reported or under-reported the actual cost of the contract work.

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  1. For some context, see below for large tech/telecom companies – note their profit’s are after paying salaries but before taxes etc(EBITA). They have collectively nearly 1 Million direct employees and their profits are nearly 300 Billion. Just these few companies have total market value in the TRILLIONS(and all we get for it is computers and cell phones). There are larger companies overseas (China Mobil – Samsung, etc)

    Our entire federal government has a $2 Trillion budget (and for 2 trillion we have roads, a military, social security, etc). All these employees below have as much chance to have your information as a NSA employee does (and the NSA has governmet oversight and control). The NSA has only 35,000 direct employees and a measley 10 Billion operating budget…

    AT&T Employees 250,000 Profit 49 Billion
    Verizon Employees 180,000 Profit 55 Billion
    Sprint Employees 40,000 Profit 5 Billion
    Comcast Employees 130,000 Profit 28 Billion
    Time Warner Employees 50,000 Profit 8 Billion
    Google Inc Employees 47,756 Profit 18 Billion
    2.2 Trillion Searches Per Year
    310 Million Chrome Users
    1 Billion Android Powered Devices
    Microsoft Employees 99,000 Profit 31 Billion
    200 Billion Searches Per Year
    500 Million Windows/IE Users
    Yahoo! Inc. Employees 11,700 Profit 1 Billion
    Apple Inc. Employees 80,300 Profit 56 Billion
    700 Million IOS powered devices

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