This facet of the military/industrial/intelligence has been prospering since before the Iran/Contra scandal of the Nixon administration and before. Intelligence is a black area as far as budget oversight goes and this is generally a good thing.
However, without strong internal oversight strategic mistakes can be made. Intelligence is compartmentalized so that the right hand doesn’t need to know what the left hand is doing. It appears that a new of intelligence industry has arisen so that various agencies can have “deniability.” I see it as a form of freebooting that depends on creating deniability for states and independently acting in war zones in their own rather than US interests.
We need to know why we need so many private mercenary organizations, why we need so many contractors in foreign “zones of activity,” why army mess has been outsourced and a true accounting of the costs of war.
After 9/11 not once was the cost of war included as a budget line item. The cost of the war was always hidden in “emergency requests.” After a few years emergencies are no longer urgent and need to be in the budget or the people are just being gamed.
It is the wool over the eyes of the people put there by politicians acting on behalf of their K street lobbyists whose money comes from the industries whose existence depends on the continuance of war. The issue in this article is the tracking and killing militants, the real issue is the one raised by Eisenhower many years ago. The war industry will continue to pay people to foment new wars so that they can continue create bigger and better war machines. It is a vicious circle and the oil is money not a desire for peace. – carlos
Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants
From left: Michael D. Furlong, the official who was said to have hired private contractors to track militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan; Robert Young Pelton, an author; Duane Clarridge, a former C.I.A. official; and Eason Jordan, a former television news executive.
By DEXTER FILKINS and MARK MAZZETTI, Published: March 14, 2010
KABUL, Afghanistan — Under the cover of a benign government information-gathering program, a Defense Department official set up a network of private contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help track and kill suspected militants, according to military officials and businessmen in Afghanistan and the United States.
The official, Michael D. Furlong, hired contractors from private security companies that employed former C.I.A. and Special Forces operatives. The contractors, in turn, gathered intelligence on the whereabouts of suspected militants and the location of insurgent camps, and the information was then sent to military units and intelligence officials for possible lethal action in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the officials said.
While it has been widely reported that the C.I.A. and the military are attacking operatives of Al Qaeda and others through unmanned, remote-controlled drone strikes, some American officials say they became troubled that Mr. Furlong seemed to be running an off-the-books spy operation. The officials say they are not sure who condoned and supervised his work.
It is generally considered illegal for the military to hire contractors to act as covert spies. Officials said Mr. Furlong’s secret network might have been improperly financed by diverting money from a program designed to merely gather information about the region.
Moreover, in Pakistan, where Qaeda and Taliban leaders are believed to be hiding, the secret use of private contractors may be seen as an attempt to get around the Pakistani government’s prohibition of American military personnel’s operating in the country. Read more in the NY Times…