Saturday, November 17, 2018 -
Print Edition

How cash secretly rules surveillance policy

Have you noticed anything missing in the political discourse about the National Security Administration’s unprecedented mass surveillance?

There’s certainly been a robust discussion about the balance between security and liberty, and there’s at least been some conversation about the intelligence community’s potential criminality and constitutional violations. But there have only been veiled, indirect references to how cash undoubtedly tilts the debate against those who challenge the national security state.

Those indirect references have come in stories about Booz Allen Hamilton, the security contractor that employed Edward Snowden. CNN/Money notes that 99% of the firm’s multibillion-dollar annual revenues now come from the federal government.

Those revenues are part of a larger and growing economic sector within the military-industrial complex — a sector that, according to author Tim Shorrock, is “a $56 billion-a-year industry.”

For the most part, this is where the political discourse about money stops. We are told that there are high-minded, principled debates about security.

We are also told of this massively profitable private industry making billions a year from the policy decisions that emerge from such a debate. Yet, few in the Washington press corps are willing to mention that politicians’ attacks on surveillance critics may have nothing to do with principle and everything to do with shilling for campaign donors.

The rest of this article is available in the IJN’s print edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at carol@ijn.com or subscribe to our new online e-Edition.




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