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Contractors Hired to Subvert the Bill of Rights
by Kurt Nimmo    Another Day in the Empire
Entered into the database on Monday, March 20th, 2006 @ 12:09:51 MST


Untitled Document

In November of last year, Walter Pincus, writing for the CIA’s favorite newspaper, the Washington Post, told us about the Pentagon’s CIFA, short for Counterintelligence Field Activity, “a little-known Pentagon agency” that has the “authority to investigate crimes within the United States such as treason, foreign or terrorist sabotage or even economic espionage.” At the time, a presidential commission, chaired by Laurence H. Silberman and former senator Charles S. Robb, was working to grant CIFA a carte blanc on “domestic criminal investigations and clandestine operations against potential threats inside the United States,” in other words “new counterespionage and law enforcement authorities,” overturning a 2003 Defense Department directive that prevented CIFA from engaging in “law enforcement activities” such as “the investigation, apprehension, or detention of individuals suspected or convicted of criminal offenses against the laws of the United States” as part of “offensive and defensive counterintelligence efforts.”

It should be noted that Silberman is an ardent Straussian neocon, co-chair the so-called Iraq intelligence commission, a member of the secret FISA court, a cover-up artist for Reagan’s “October Surprise” and Iran-Contra, and a member of the Federalist Society, a small clique of neocon legal professionals funded by CIA operative Richard Scaife. In short, with Silberman acting as advocate and caretaker for CIFA, we can expect the agency to subvert dissent—for, as Leo Strauss instructed his acolytes, “the rule of the wise [the neocons] must be absolute rule” and of course under such an autocratic system dissent is not only dangerous, it is seditious.

In a follow-up published in the Washington Post today, we learn that CIFA is jobbing work out to death merchants such as Lockheed Martin, “a growing trend at the Pentagon to contract out intelligence jobs that were formerly done primarily by service personnel and civil service employees,” Pincus writes. “The trend toward contracting for intelligence analysts will hurt the ability of the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency to retain and keep high-quality people, said a former senior intelligence official who helped supervise the rebuilding of the CIA’s case officer and analyst corps…. CIFA Director David A. Burtt II said in a recent interview that 70 percent of his agency’s work is handled by contractors,” thus taking a large portion of CIFA intelligence activity off the books. Pincus insists on slanting his story toward the “brain drain” aspect of the move toward contractors. However, the privatization of “intelligence gathering” and the complete lack of accountability should be of more concern.

As we know, a CIFA database, known by its codename TALON (Threat and Local Observation Notice), contains “raw information” about “suspicious incidents,” as the neocon Paul Wolfowitz put it, for instance a small gathering of demonstrators outside of Halliburton headquarters in Houston, Texas, on June 23, 2004. “CIFA researchers [increasingly privatized] apparently cast a wide net and had a number of surveillance methods—both secretive and mundane—at their disposal,” Newsweek reported in January. The CIFA database contains “unsubstantiated reports submitted by informants on the activities of citizens and residents of the US,” explains Barry Grey. “There is no public accounting for what happens to this information once it has entered the military intelligence data network. The number of Talon reports is itself classified.”

“An internal CIFA PowerPoint slide presentation recently obtained by William Arkin, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst who writes widely about military affairs, gives some idea how the group operated. The presentation, which Arkin provided to Newsweek, shows that CIFA analysts had access to law-enforcement reports and sensitive military and U.S. intelligence documents” and also trolled the internet. “Truly, if you’re secretly plotting to commit acts of terrorism against the American military, among the first things you’ll do are stage a public protest [known as the “peanut butter'’ demonstration] outside a military recruitment office and/or put up an anti-government web page,” writes a sarcastic poster going by the name Hannibal on the Ars Technica forum. “I believe that’s on the first slide of the Al Qaeda ‘So You Want to Be a Terrorist’ PowerPoint presentation. It’s in the section titled, ‘On the importance of blending in with local radicals, dissidents, and other persons likely to be targeted by the feds.’”

On February 15, 2006, during debate on the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, Senator Byrd, one of a small number of Congress critters opposed to the decimation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, had the following inserted in the Congressional Record: “Are secret Government programs that spy on American citizens proliferating? The question is not, is Big Brother watching? The question is, how many big brothers have we? … I have become increasingly concerned about dangers to the people’s liberty. I believe that both current law and the Constitution may have been violated, not just once, not twice, but many times, and in ways that the Congress and the American people may never know because of this White House and its penchant for control and secrecy.”

Tim Shorrock, writing for Mother Jones, explains how “intelligence contractors operate in a world where budgets are classified and many activities—from covert operations to foreign eavesdropping—are conducted in secret. Even the bidding for intelligence contracts is often classified. As a result, there is virtually no oversight of the intelligence community and its corporate partners.”

In the 1960s, the Pentagon and the CIA employed this veil of secrecy to “pull off burglaries, illegal entries, use of explosives, criminal frame-ups, shared interrogations, and disinformation” of the civil rights and antiwar movements, according to former CIA undercover operative Verne Lyon. “Given the power granted to the office of the presidency and the unaccountability of the intelligence agencies, widespread illegal domestic operations are certain.” In June, 1970, Nixon told the Pentagon, FBI, and CIA “he wanted a coordinated and concentrated effort against domestic dissenters,” an effort that resulted in Operation CHAOS and a continuation of COINTELPRO.

In March, 1971, “a group of young CIA executives known as the Management Advisory Group” went public with their opposition to Operation CHAOS and other snoop and subversion programs, partially responsible for the Church Committee investigations in the mid-70s.

However, we shouldn’t expect this level of patriotic opposition to the subversion of the Bill of Rights on the part of “intelligence contractors,” more interested in profit and the bottom line than protecting the Constitution.