The Rise of Intelligence Contractors

DATE: June 25, 2010 | Jana Persky, Scott H. Amey, J.D.

Topics: National Security | Related Content: Checks and Balances, Conflicts of Interest, Contractor Accountability, Cost Accounting Standards, Defense, Government Privatization, Government Secrecy, Intelligence, Interviews, Videos

By Jana Persky

In the wake of 9-11, the federal government needed to rapidly increase its capabilities in the areas of homeland security and intelligence work, and to do so, it turned to private contractors. Since then, the amount of contracted work has expanded to the point where it is estimated that 70 percent of the intelligence budget goes to contractors, as the Project On Government Oversight’s General Counsel Scott Amey outlined on C-SPAN this morning.

Amey pointed out that the most significant problem with this growth is that there is limited oversight..

“Contractors play a vital role in our homeland security and our intelligence network,” Amey said. “But there are real mysteries about how many intelligence contractors there are, the cost, the contracts, the work that they are doing.”

This can lead to bloated contracts and overhead, Amey said. Amey called for more transparency related to contracting work so that the public can know how and why its taxes are being spent.

“The government does over-rely on contractors,” Amey said. “That’s the culture that we need to change; we need to take a look at the workforce and make sure that we’re bringing in the most capable as well as the most cost-efficient workforce that we can.”

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