Government Set to Contract Out Spying on You

Imagine the government watching you, listening to your conservations, reading your mail, and — someday probably — your thoughts as well.

Bad, right?

Now imagine the government farming out these repugnant tasks to private companies. Turns out you don’t have to imagine. It’s a done deal.

The proposed contracts reflect a continuing expansion of the Defense Department’s intelligence-related work and fit a well-established pattern of Bush administration transfers of government work to private contractors.

The Defense Intelligence Agency is preparing to pay private contractors up to $1 billion to conduct core intelligence tasks of analysis and collection over the next five years, an amount that would set a new record in the outsourcing of such functions by the Pentagon’s top spying agency.

The proposed contracts, outlined in a recent early notice of the DIA’s plans, reflect a continuing expansion of the Defense Department’s intelligence-related work and fit a well-established pattern of Bush administration transfers of government work to private contractors.

That’s right. Contractors like Diebold with corporate agendas of supporting rightwing initiatives and candidates, or Haliburton, with monetary and ideological ties to the Bush Administration, or even ChoicePoint, which bungled and leaked hundreds of thousands of consumer records online, will be in charge of collecting and maintaining “intelligence” on you. And — yikes! — me.

The DIA did not specify exactly what it wants the contractors to do but said it is seeking teams to fulfill “operational and mission requirements” that include intelligence “Gathering and Collection, Analysis, Utilization, and Strategy and Support.” It holds out the possibility that five or more contractors may be hired and promised more details on Aug. 27.

We’ll be waiting for those details. So will one congressperson.

“Mind-blowing,” was the reaction of Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, when she learned of the DIA proposal.

You said it sister.

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