By Chalmers Johnson and Tom Engelhardt
"To offer a bit of context for Chalmers Johnson's latest post on the privatization of U.S. intelligence, it's important to know just how lucrative that intelligence "business" has become. According to the latest estimate, the cumulative 2009 intelligence budget for the 16 agencies in the U.S. Intelligence Community will be more than $55 billion. However, it's possible that the real figure in the deeply classified budget may soar over $66 billion, which would mean that the U.S. budget for spooks has more than doubled in less than a decade. And as Robert Dreyfuss points out at his invaluable blog at the Nation, even more spectacularly (and wastefully), much of that money will end up in the hands of the "private contractors" who, by now, make up a mini intelligence-industrial complex of their own.
Chalmers Johnson, who once consulted for the CIA and more recently, in his book Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, the third volume of his Blowback Trilogy, called for the Agency to be shut down, knows a thing or two about the world of American intelligence. As he has written, "An incompetent or unscrupulous intelligence agency can be as great a threat to national security as not having one at all." Now consider, with Johnson, just how incompetent and unscrupulous a thoroughly privatized intelligence "community" can turn out to be........"