Jane Mayer's recent New Yorker piece on the criminal prosecution of National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Thomas Drake reveals a sliver of the intelligence industrial complex costing Americans' their money and their freedom.
Drake blew the whistle on the NSA wasting billions and sacrificing Americans' privacy on what The New Yorker describes as a "$1.2 billion flop." The program, Trailblazer, though intended to collect and analyze massive amounts of data, was a funding vehicle with "nothing to show for [itself] other than mounting bills." NSA management rebuffed and retaliated against Drake and other public servants who pointed to a cheaper, ready-to-deploy program that contained privacy protections for Americans.
Trailblazer's failure is a prime example of the endemic revolving-door intelligence spending policy that wastes taxpayer dollars by the billions. Mayer's article describes the problem:
As the [Trailblazer] system stalled at the level of schematic drawings, top executives kept shuttling between jobs at the agency and jobs with the high-paying contractors. For a time, both [former NSA Director] Hayden's deputy director and his chief of signals-intelligence programs worked at SAIC, a company that won several hundred million dollars in Trailblazer contracts.
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