What is the difference between a terrorist and a soldier? The actions are now identical, both act to produce terror, so probably the only standing difference is that terrorists are non-government agencies. Remember that.
The US intelligence infrastructure is not just huge, it is colossal, a parallel society living among us (yes, us, wherever you live). That has been amply illustrated by the investigative journalism project Top Secret America. According to their research, there are 1200 government agencies, more than 3,666 private companies, 17,000 locations, and 854,000 people in the US that have Top Secret security clearance. Top Secret. None of the cables released by Wikileaks this week are Top Secret. Can you even imagine the amount of data here? This is what the US calls “information dominance” and a “global surveillance system”. Almost all IT and communication companies in the US are a part of the network, and they reach across the globe.
In 2007, 70% of all intelligence budgets were spent on private contractors. That was 3 years ago, and we don’t know how that has changed because all intelligence budgets are classified, but the trend since then has been a definite shift towards more private contractors. Obama likes to use the terms “american intelligence” and “american military” to play games with the truth (see “american troops pull out of Iraq”). If they are private contractors, they aren’t american intelligence, right? And there are other much more important reasons for private contractors, they are allowed to make huge donations to political parties from their billion tax dollar contracts.
Like the military contractors, the private companies also are not bound by government procedure, their contracts are classified so most of the government has no idea what they are doing, and they are private companies who do not have to disclose information to the public. They also have a classified bid system that makes corruption between private companies and politicians particularly easy. Again, like military contractors, they are not being used in secondary roles, they are used in training and in developing and operating all the high tech industries. They are paid with huge amounts of tax money, and in turn, are in a position to drastically influence governmental policies.
“Not only were private contractors involved in the extreme interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, they have taken over the training of military interrogators at the U.S. Army’s Intelligence Center in Fort Huachuca, Arizona. And in hotspots around the world, private contractors are taking the place of government operatives. In Pakistan, for example, three-quarters of the officers posted at the Islamabad CIA station since 9/11 have been private contractors. In the Baghdad CIA station, contractors have sometimes outnumbered government employees and have taken supervisory positions overseeing what CIA agents do every day.”
Not frightened yet? Well, leave it to Xe (Ze evil Blackwater dudes). By yet another name, they are Total Intelligence Solutions, which is a private intelligence contractor headed by the former head of CIA counterterrorism who ran the extraordinary rendition program for Bush. This private company, staffed by ex members of all branches of US government intelligence, has been aggressively marketing to Fortune 1000 companies. They state that they can bring CIA type services to the corporate boardroom. Former CIA agent contacts and classified knowledge is being put on the open market internationally. This is from a company that runs a completely parallel intelligence and military to the US government and is headed by a man who said “Blackwater is a private company. There is a key word there. Private.” For those who only care about the US, yes they can contract to other countries.
There are only two possible explanations for a sovereign nation to bankrupt its own citizens and its government in order to set up a huge international surveillance and military system, “the finest fighting force the world has ever seen” that they do not actually own or control. One, everyone is completely insane, or two, it has not been a sovereign nation for a long time. Now is the time to remember the definition of a terrorist.