At Booz Allen, a Vast U.S. Spy Operation, Run for Private Profit by Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times
In the six weeks since federal agents raided a suburban Maryland home and arrested Harold T. Martin III on suspicion of stealing classified information from the National Security Agency, another organization has quietly prepared to face the fallout: Booz Allen Hamilton, Mr. Martin’s employer.
Booz Allen, a consulting firm that earns billions of dollars by working for American intelligence agencies, has been called the world’s most profitable spy organization. News this week of Mr. Martin’s arrest in August could renew scrutiny of the firm’s operations and, more broadly, the lucrative contracting business that American intelligence now relies on to run its vast, global surveillance operations.
Mr. Martin’s arrest is the second time in three years that a Booz Allen contractor has been accused of stealing potentially damaging material from the N.S.A. The company also employed Edward J. Snowden, who spirited out a cache of documents that, in 2013, exposed the extent of American surveillance programs in the United States and around the world.
Booz Allen is one of a handful of defense and intelligence contractors that blur the line between the government’s intelligence work and private enterprise.
Tens of thousands of contractors are believed to work for American intelligence agencies (the exact number is not known). They do everything from helping secure the military against cyber attacks and plan intelligence operations, to training spies and running war games for NATO generals.
“What most people don’t realize is just the sheer scale of the intelligence work force that is outsourced,” said Peter W. Singer, a national security expert at New America, a think tank in Washington. “There will be meetings, and less than 10 percent of the people there are official U.S. government employees as opposed to contractors.”
Firms like Booz Allen provide a ready and potentially lucrative option for federal employees who are looking to cash in on their government experience…