NSA contractors & the revolving door

By Laurie Bennett

June 11, 2013 at 11:33am

Recent revelations about National Security Agency operations raise concerns not only about the invasiveness of its data mining programs, but the extent of its outsourcing sensitive work to for-profit companies.

Because so many of the activities of the National Security Agency are secret, it’s nearly impossible to identify all its outside contractors.

We’ve assembled a partial (certainly much abbreviated) list, shown in the Muckety map below, through corporate filings, patent applications, media coverage and other sources.

Booz Allen Hamilton, a longtime contractor of the agency, announced Tuesday that it had fired Edward Snowden, the employee who has admitted leaking information about NSA activities.

As you can see in the map, the vice chair of Booz Allen is John Michael McConnell, former director of the agency. National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper was executive director of military intelligence programs for Booz Allen. (See our earlier post about Booz Allen’s many ties to the intelligence community.)

However, the consulting firm isn’t the only contractor benefitting from the revolving door between NSA and the business world.

At the top of the map is KEYW Holding Corporation, another contractor with multiple connections.

Based in Hanover, MD, just five miles from NSA headquarters, KEYW is a publicly traded company providing cybersecurity and geospatial intelligence technologies. It notes in its most recent quarterly report that its products are designed for the NSA and other intelligence and defense agencies.

As the umbrella shape at the top of our map shows, KEYW has many relationships with the agency:

  • Chairman and CEO Leonard Moodispaw is a former senior manager with NSA.
  • John Russell, who oversaw NSA contracts, is now a company VP.
  • William Studeman, former NSA director, sits on the KEYW advisory board. So do Richard C. Schaeffer Jr., who worked for the NSA for more than 30 years, and George Cotter, who was the NSA’s chief scientist.
  • The company’s board of directors includes Kenneth Minihan, former NSA director, and Deborah Bonanni, former chief of staff.
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