Concerned about the growing dependence of the nation’s spy agencies on private contractors, top intelligence officials have spent months determining just how many contractors work at the C.I.A., D.I.A., F.B.I., N.S.A. and the rest of the spook alphabet soup.
Now they have an answer. But they cannot reveal it, they say, because America’s enemies might be listening.
Ronald P. Sanders, chief human capital officer for the director of national intelligence, said that because personnel numbers and agency budgets were classified, he could not reveal the contractor count.
“I can’t give you anything that would allow you to impute the size of the I.C. civilian work force,” Mr. Sanders said, using shorthand for “intelligence community” in a telephone briefing that covered everything about the contractor survey except its core findings.
Mr. Sanders said the study did find that about 25 percent of the intelligence work now contracted out resulted from personnel ceilings imposed by Congress. But 25 percent of what, he said he could not disclose.
Steven Aftergood of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said the decision not to reveal the numbers was a sign of dysfunctional policies.
“It reveals how confused the government is about what is really sensitive and what is not,” Mr. Aftergood said. “What would Osama bin Laden do with the fraction of intelligence workers who are contractors? Absolutely nothing.”
Steve is dead on here: we must begin a robust debate in this nation over what is quite properly a secret and what is just secrecy for operational CYA....
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Of Spies, and Secrets...
From the Times today comes a tale of spies and secrets...