NarcoNews: CIA Veteran Sees Big Hole in Sterling Espionage Conviction

Retired Counterintelligence Officer Claims Intelligence Agency’s Office of Security Dropped the Ball

By Bill Conroy

A former CIA spy manager is raising a serious question about the way the intelligence agency handled the national-security risk raised in the case of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer who was recently convicted on espionage charges for leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen.

Leutrell Osborne is a 27-year veteran of the CIA who as a case officer oversaw spies and assets in 30 countries. He said he befriended Sterling, who like Osborne is African American, during the course of a discrimination lawsuit Sterling initiated against the CIA in 2000. That litigation was ultimately dismissed by the courts in early 2006 due to the government’s national security claims.

“I decided to assist Jeffrey [Sterling] in his discrimination case because I had respect for him because he was a black man, an attorney and a spy manager, and part of the reason I worked at the CIA was so people like him could follow me,” said Osborne, a CIA employee from 1957-1984. [Video: Leutrell Osborne: Black Man in the CIA]

Osborne, who now runs a business-consulting firm, had numerous interactions and conversations with Sterling, which he said should have been of interest to the CIA’s Office of Security in the course of any internal agency investigation of potential classified-information leaks.

However, Osborne said the CIA never contacted him about Sterling, prior to or during the course of the criminal investigation targeting Sterling. That criminal investigation, which led to Sterling’s indictment in 2010, was initiated by at least 2008 — when reporter Risen was first subpoenaed in the case. Osborne also said that, to date, the CIA has not returned a call he made to the agency shortly after Sterling’s conviction in late January.

If the CIA was truly concerned that Sterling was leaking classified information, then the agency should have vetted anyone who had his confidence, particularly current and former CIA personnel, to determine the extent of his alleged espionage activities, Osborne contends.

“The CIA investigated Sterling, and they knew I knew him, or should have known, yet they did not talk to me,” Osborne said. “Is the CIA that incompetent in security? The CIA is supposedly the best security organization in the world, and yet they didn’t care that there were holes in their investigation? That raises a red flag for me.”

A federal court jury in Virginia found Sterling guilty earlier this year on nine criminal counts related to charges that he provided classified documents to Risen sometime between 2001 and 2005 that were made public in a book that the journalist published in early 2006. Risen’s tome, “State of War,” included a chapter detailing a CIA covert plan to derail Iran’s nuclear-weapons development capabilities.  Sterling, now 47, was assigned from 1998 to mid-2000 as an operational officer in the unit overseeing that Iran program, dubbed Operation Merlin in court records.

The government’s case against Sterling was made with circumstantial evidence — primarily records of phone calls and emails exchanged between Sterling and Risen between 2003 and 2005, none of which contained a smoking gun proving conclusively that Sterling leaked classified information. Sterling’s lawyers argued that the trail of emails and phone calls dovetailed in time with his discrimination lawsuit against the CIA and dealt with that matter, which Risen had written about in the New York Times previously. In addition, the defense argued that there were a number of other potential sources for Risen’s book, including Senate Select Intelligence Committee staffers, given Sterling in 2003 provided information to them legally as a whistleblower on what he deemed flaws in the covert Iran program.

The Department of Justice engaged in a controversial battle across the Bush and Obama administrations to force Risen to reveal his sources on Operation Merlin. Ultimately, though, the Department of Justice backed down as Sterling’s trial got underway in mid-January and did not call Risen to testify. Government attorneys argue that Sterling was a disgruntled former CIA employee motivated to strike back at the agency and that convictions based on strong circumstantial evidence are not out of the ordinary in the judicial system.

But Osborne’s criticism has more to do with CIA internal procedures than Sterling’s criminal case itself, though he argues that there is some pause for concern that the agency may have pushed the criminal case against Sterling in retaliation for his whistleblowing and discrimination lawsuit against the agency.

Attorney Mark Zaid, who represented Sterling in the discrimination case, said Osborne “gave media interviews” during the course of Sterling’s discrimination litigation, including for national outlets such as CNN, “and was very supportive of Jeff [Sterling],” though he never testified in the case. Osborne said the CIA certainly was aware of his relationship with Sterling, or at least should have been as the world’s premier intelligence agency. In addition, Osborne said he placed a call to the CIA in early February, shortly after Sterling’s conviction, but still has not been contacted by the agency.

Osborne points out that CIA attorneys do not try criminal cases and the CIA itself has no arrest powers. Once a suspect in a classified-information leak is identified, he said, the case is normally turned over to the FBI and Department of Justice attorney’s to pursue via the criminal justice system.

However, that does not absolve the CIA, he said, of conducting its own thorough internal investigation to determine the extent of the leak and how extensive the problem is and what other agency operations might have been affected or compromised. Because he had a relationship with Sterling, the CIA should have had an interest in determining what information was exchanged between them, Osborne said.

The CIA unit responsible for protecting classified information from disclosure, and for investigating such breaches, is the Office of Security.

“That unit [the Office of Security] should have been on the job. I was a potential hole in the security, and yet no one from CIA contacted me,” Osborne stressed. “The Office of Security’s job is to look for the dirty laundry, and possibly share what they find with the FBI. I should have been contacted.”

Osborne said the fact that CIA investigators did not question him prompts a suspicion that Sterling was not the national-security threat the agency portrayed him to be and that some individuals at the CIA may have “manipulated” the Department of Justice into pursuing an espionage case against him. Alternatively, another possible implication of the agency’s failure to vet Osborne is equally troubling. That lapse, he said, points to a potential serious weakness in the CIA’s internal “security protocols” for containing espionage threats.

Dean Boyd, director of the CIA Office of Public Affairs, when asked about Osborne’s allegations, provided the following response via email:

“The criminal investigation of Jeffrey Sterling and his unauthorized disclosure of classified information was conducted by the FBI. The criminal prosecution was handled by the Department of Justice. As you may know, determinations on potential witnesses or interviews to be conducted in connection with a criminal investigation and prosecution are the purview of the FBI and Department of Justice.”

When asked in a follow-up email to address the specific concern Osborne raised about the failure of CIA investigators to contact him as part of the agency’s internal security protocols, Boyd replied: “We have no further information for you.”

“There are valleys between DOJ, FBI and the CIA,” Osborne said. “CIA uses DOJ attorneys for criminal cases, but it doesn’t’ make sense that CIA did not contact me or that DOJ should have handled that,” given any compromise of classified information potentially threatens broader CIA operations possibly not even known to DOJ. Osborne added that neither the DOJ or FBI contacted him about Sterling — nor did he reach out to them.

“This discussion just accentuates how stupid this situation is,” Osborne added.

For the record, Osborne said Sterling never shared any classified information with him.

“I did not inquire about what he did for the CIA,” Osborne said. “And he had too much respect for me to involve me in his garbage. Sterling never shared with me anything he did clandestinely for the CIA.”

Past Deceptions

This isn’t the first time the CIA Office of Security has been called out for failing to do its job properly.

In March of last year, US Sen. Dianne Feinstein, then chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), lashed out publicly at the CIA, accusing the agency and its top lawyer of illegally spying on the Senate staff charged with investigating the George W. Bush-era terrorism practices. She accused the CIA of seeking to intimidate the Senate committee by asking the Justice Department to investigate those same staffers based on what she described as “inaccurate information” provided to the Justice Department.

Although Feinstein did not then publicly identify the CIA lawyer she accused of helping to orchestrate the alleged attack on the Senate staff — via his referral of charges to DOJ — White House spokesman Jay Carney subsequently confirmed that it was then-Acting CIA General Counsel Robert Eatinger.

The Senate staff was utilizing secure computers set up by the CIA that allowed them to examine millions of documents to prepare a 6,000-page report on the terrorism-detention and interrogation program. An abbreviated version of that report, some 500 pages long and released in December of last year, determined the CIA’s use of torture to obtain information from suspects held in secret prisons didn’t work, yet the agency lied repeatedly in claiming it was effective.

In the course of preparing their report for Feinstein’s committee, the CIA alleges the Senate staffers illegally hacked into the agency’s computers to obtain information — creating the basis for Eatinger’s request for a DOJ criminal investigation. Senate staffers maintain the information in question was contained in trove of records made available to them by CIA for examination.

A five-member CIA Accountability Board, which included three CIA officials, was assembled to investigate the matter and determined in findings issued this past January that CIA personnel did nothing illegal, that it was all essentially an honest misunderstanding.

However, Feinstein took issue with the findings of the board and issued a blistering critique.

“Regardless of the extent of the violation or intent of those involved, someone should be held accountable,” she said in a press release published on Jan. 27. “…The CIA IG [Inspector General, in a separate report] found the CIA criminal referral against SSCI staff was based on inaccurate information provided to Acting General Counsel Bob Eatinger by personnel in CIA’s Office of Security. The actions of these individuals were ignored by the CIA Accountability Board, which is shocking and unacceptable.” [Emphasis added.]

So, essentially, a US senator claims the CIA’s Office of Security lied to the Department of Justice as part of an effort to launch a criminal investigation into Senate staffers

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You can read the complete investigative report here @ NarcoNews

BFP Exclusive- Former CIA Officer & Whistleblower Frank Snepp Responds to Sibel Edmonds’ Article on Snowden-Greenwald

“The journalists’ “sugar daddies,” as you call them, will have to get in line if they want to exploit Snowden’s revelations against us.”

By Frank Snepp

Your post admirably demonstrates why "boiling" figures in the title of your blog. Your outrage burns like a cascading incendiary right through the entire piece.

You perform an invaluable service in showing how the documents-count for Snowden's boost has dramatically altered -- from Glenn Greenwald's July cite to der Spiegel of 9,000-10,000, to his claim of 20,000 to the Brazilian Senate, to the UK/David Miranda takedown count of 58,000, to the NSA quote of 1.7 million.

You also make an extremely important point in noting that the “spider-crawler” technology that Snowden apparently used to "scrape" up files at Booz Allen couldn't possibly have allowed for the kind of judicious scrutiny and selection that he originally claimed for himself. He made this claim early on, as you'll recall, when he tried to separate himself from Bradley Manning and his grab-bag approach to the military files he plundered for Wikileaks. Based on a New York Times story of February 9, the technology he and Manning used was roughly the same. So Snowden exaggerates or prevaricates in pretending he was somehow more careful and discreet than Manning (now Chelsea Manning).

As for the discrepancies you've noted in the Snowden documents-count, they dazzle the imagination with possibilities.

In a New York Times magazine piece published by Peter Maas on August 18, Greenwald is quoted as saying that Poitras had documents with her when she joined him for their flight to Hong Kong last summer. Thus she went into their meeting with Snowden after having already received some material from him.

By the time Greenwald and the Guardian’s Hugh MacAskell left Hong Kong on or about June 10, according to one of your previous BFP posts, Greenwald was ready to maintain that he had received everything Snowden had to give them.

But on June 12, Snowden made comments to the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong that indicated he still had a stash with him. So clearly, by his own perhaps unwitting acknowledgement, he had NOT given all copies to Greenwald by that point.

In his interview with the Hong Kong reporter Snowden revealed that NSA was surveilling Chinese targets on the island and the mainland. Greenwald seems to have been caught by surprise by these revelations for he later acknowledged publicly that he probably wouldn't have published these leaks himself and felt Snowden had done so to ingratiate himself with the Chinese. Greenwald's alleged aversion to exposing such operations is laughable given his later willingness to blow equally sensitive secrets. But it does appear that he realized that Snowden was off on his own track.

According to the Maas article, Poitras slipped out of Hong Kong on June 15. She may have been carrying the very documents Greenwald later claimed had been transferred to them both, or even files he had not seen. Indeed it is possible that Greenwald had none or only a portion of the Snowden stash upon his own departure from Hong Kong and meant to pick the rest up later from Poitras.

His decision to send his partner David Miranda to Germany in August to link up with Poitras and collect 58,000 documents from her strengthens the likelihood that she was, until then, the main custodian of the Snowden files, whatever their number. 

Either way, it is apparent 1) that more documents are circulating than Greenwald originally claimed; 2) that Snowden wasn't the discreet security-minded thief he originally pretended to be; and 3) that Poitras is the wild card in all the confusion. She accompanied Greenwald to Hong Kong with more documents than he had previously seen, and later, and after returning to Germany, she retained more documents that he had carried with him out of Hong Kong.

It is impossible to sort out from all this whether the 58,000 documents that Miranda was carrying when detained at Heathrow in August were part of Snowden’s original handoff in Hong Kong, were an additional dollop that Poitras had separately gotten from him, or represented everything the two journalists now describe as the Snowden file.

To further complicate things, the NSA's pilfered-documents count of 1.7 million may be a guestimate of how many files Snowden’s spider-crawler had access to, rather than a tally of what was actually stolen.

Bottom line: Greenwald and Poitras are in a position to clarify much of this, and if they were objective journalists truly committed to transparency and accountability, they would do so in a heartbeat. But they haven't.

While we're doling out journalistic responsibilities, let’s not forget Barton Gellman of the Washington Post and Hugh MacAskell of the Guardian, both of whom were part of the original Snowden daisy chain.

Gellman apparently received his own share of the Snowden files from Poitras directly or via the encrypted conferencing system that she and Snowden set up during the time he was pilfering the Booz Allen/NSA mother lode in Hawaii. She was close enough to Gellman to share a by-line with him on his own original Snowden story for the Post, and, as Greenwald revealed to Peter Maas, she was the technical mastermind behind the transfer of the Snowden files to his journalist-collaborators.

Did Gellman get copies of some, all or more of what was handed to Greenwald, Poitras and MacAskell in Hong Kong, or later? Did MacAskill get copies of all of the stuff that Greenwald and Poitras pocketed? Are his copies the ones the Guardian later shared with the New York Times? And how reflective are they of what Greenwald and Poitras now control?

One thing seems fairly certain in all this: Gellman’s package included documents he was initially led to believe were his alone to exploit. They had to do with the NSA internet surveillance program codenamed Prism. According to his and Greenwald’s published accounts, Gellman was originally given the Prism documents as a Post exclusive. When the Post balked at Snowden's prepublication demands, copies of these documents – or at least permission to report on them -- went to Greenwald. He would later file a story about Prism just moments after Gellman surfaced his own in the Post.

In a follow-up "explainer" (that didn't explain much) Gellman glossed over Poitras’ role in the Snowden leak-fest and treated Greenwald as a late arrival to the game. As Gellman told it, once the Post rebuffed Snowden’s demands, the leaker “made contact with Glenn Greenwald of the British newspaper the Guardian.”

Not so. Poitras had already brought Greenwald into her dialogue with Snowden. Once again she is the wild card.

Presumably Poitras knew all along what Gellman was up to since she shared a by-line with him on his Prism story. But she evidently kept from him her previous months-long interplay with Snowden and the Guardian reporter. Otherwise Gellman, in his explainer, wouldn't have characterized Greenwald as a Johnny-come-lately, and Greenwald wouldn't have responded as he did, announcing tartly via Twitter, “Bart Gellman’s claims about Snowden’s interactions with me - when, how and why - are all false.”

Any attempt to account for the Snowden documents, their whereabouts and number, must also contend with other imponderables.

For instance, Greenwald told the Daily Beast that some number of Snowden’s still unpublished stash have been handed over under a password arrangement to parties unknown, and will be released as payback to the powers-that-be if anything happens to the leaker. What are these Armageddon files, who’s got them, what’s their number, and why hasn’t Greenwald, the “objective” journalist, revealed all this rather than play bullyboy messenger on Snowden’s behalf?

Moreover, as Peter Maas reported in his Times magazine article, at least some information relating to NSA’s surveillance deal with Verizon – the subject of Greenwald’s first leak story – is floating out in the ether somewhere, thanks to his and Poitras’ impatience with the Guardian newspaper.

“When The Guardian didn’t move as quickly as they wanted with the first article on Verizon,” Maas wrote, “Greenwald discussed taking it elsewhere, sending an encrypted draft to a colleague at another publication.”

Who is that “colleague,” where is that draft, and was any of the supporting documentation attached? The “colleague” apparently is the kind of journalist Greenwald is, and is keeping what he knows from the public.

Finally, because of all the questions surrounding disposition of the Snowden files – who received, or shared, which files, and when – there are monumental chain-of-custody and verification problems.

Anywhere along the Snowden-Greenwald-Poitras-MacAskell-Gellman-Miranda-Guardian-New York Times transmission belt, glitches, whiteouts and blackouts could have occurred. Documents could have dropped out, fabricated ones could have been added, amendments or distortions could have been slipped in – all without Snowden being aware. Whatever his original password precautions, he collected far more documents than he could ever have read or vetted in their entirety, and he has abdicated too much control over them since then to be certain of what is now being distributed in his name. 

I am almost beginning to feel sorry for the NSA damage assessment team tasked with figuring out just what kind of havoc Snowden has wrought.

If what we do know is any predictor, neither the NSA nor any of us will ever be sure which documents Snowden stole, what their numbers are, or where they have ended up.

I do believe the jury is still out regarding one thread of your blog – your concern that the free-floating Snowden files might somehow compromise our privacy or allow the journalists’ billionaire patrons, Pierre Omidyar of eBay-PayPal or Jeff Bezos of Amazon-Washington Post, to do so.

True, the files apparently contain a great deal of information about cyber warfare and the defenses the NSA has erected, or attempted to penetrate, and this may contain enough to allow expert hackers to dig into very private stuff here, there and everywhere.

But let’s face it, what the Snowden files confirm beyond all question is that the Russians and the Chinese are already deep into this racket. To the extent that Snowden’s leaks have strengthened their hand, or weakened our firewalls against them, he will also have deepened our exposure to privacy violations by our sworn competitors and enemies. The journalists’ “sugar daddies,” as you call them, will have to get in line if they want to exploit Snowden’s revelations against us.

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*Frank Snepp is a Peabody-Award winning investigative journalist, author of two CIA memoirs, and focus of a major U.S. Supreme Court decision dealing with national security and the First Amendment. He posts on franksnepp.com.

 **To read Sibel Edmonds’ latest article on Snowden-Greenwald Click Here

When It Comes To Whistleblowers Obama Worse Than Nixon & Far Worse Than Bush

ObamaThe New Yorker features a lengthy story on NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake who is scheduled to appear in court next month where he will face a ten-count indictment:

According to a ten-count indictment delivered against him in April, 2010, Drake violated the Espionage Act—the 1917 statute that was used to convict Aldrich Ames, the C.I.A. officer who, in the eighties and nineties, sold U.S. intelligence to the K.G.B., enabling the Kremlin to assassinate informants. In 2007, the indictment says, Drake willfully retained top-secret defense documents that he had sworn an oath to protect, sneaking them out of the intelligence agency’s headquarters, at Fort Meade, Maryland, and taking them home, for the purpose of “unauthorized disclosure.” The aim of this scheme, the indictment says, was to leak government secrets to an unnamed newspaper reporter, who is identifiable as Siobhan Gorman, of the Baltimore Sun. Gorman wrote a prize-winning series of articles for the Sun about financial waste, bureaucratic dysfunction, and dubious legal practices in N.S.A. counterterrorism programs

Obama, prior to his election, during his ‘change’ campaign, had pledged his support for protecting national security whistleblowers, and had done so on record. As with the rest of his promises it didn’t take him long to switch positions on this front. In fact, he has broken the record among all US presidents, one that puts him in US history as the worst president when it comes to whistleblowers, truth-telling and transparency. Think Bradley Manning. Think Jeffrey Sterling. Think James Risen. Think Pentagon’s Fahrenheit 451 revisited- burning Lt Col Anthony Shaffer’s books. Think the Grand Jury on Wikileaks. And of course, think Thomas Drake:

When President Barack Obama took office, in 2009, he championed the cause of government transparency, and spoke admiringly of whistle-blowers, whom he described as “often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government.” But the Obama Administration has pursued leak prosecutions with a surprising relentlessness. Including the Drake case, it has been using the Espionage Act to press criminal charges in five alleged instances of national-security leaks—more such prosecutions than have occurred in all previous Administrations combined. The Drake case is one of two that Obama’s Justice Department has carried over from the Bush years.

Gabriel Schoenfeld, a conservative political scientist at the Hudson Institute, who, in his book “Necessary Secrets” (2010), argues for more stringent protection of classified information, says, “Ironically, Obama has presided over the most draconian crackdown on leaks in our history—even more so than Nixon.”

If you ever come across a cool-aid drinking vote waster who argues against Obama being far worse than his predecessor when it comes to whistleblowing, truth-telling and transparency, please send him or her my way. I believe what I went through as a whistleblower for seven years under the Bush presidency gives me unarguable moral authority. As the most gagged woman in the history of this nation who has received two separate state secrets privilege invocations, whose right to due process via the judiciary branch has been taken away, whose case has put the United States Congress under a gag order, who has been subjected to torturous polygraph tests and having her home computer confiscated …Well, you see what I mean by my moral authority, and with that I am saying it again firmly: Obama has been far worse than Bush in cases of government whistleblowers- truth-tellers exposing government waste, fraud, abuse and criminality.

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Weekly Round Up for January 9

Obama’s Whistleblower-Hunt, ‘Rent-A-Generals’ Industry, A Great Example of Intentionally Awful Journalism, One-Tip-Based Terror Watch List & More!

NYA belated happy new year to all our readers and friends here at Boiling Frogs Post. As you can tell I am just coming up for air. The holiday season happens to be the busiest time for my part-time work which involves a retail business, and my full-time motherhood task which has gotten at least three-fold harder during this not-so-terrible-twos stage. You see I say harder, but I’ll never call it ‘terrible’ because despite the tasking aspect it still remains the best and most rewarding role I’ve ever had; ever. My daughter is now 2.5 years old, and I’m happy to report: she is outspoken, highly opinionated, and on her way to becoming a real activist. She is already stopping those engaged in littering in their tracks for an earful lecture, and orders them to stop, ‘Go home, time out, and take bath!’ I am sharing a few of her recent pictures here. Many of you know all about my ‘no venture into my private life’ over here at BFP…except for an occasional relevant experience(s), or, like these here and the ones from last year to mark a new year at Boiling Frogs Post. Again, Happy New Year.

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For the past two months I’ve been collecting and saving lots of articles to share with you here at BFP. The collection kept getting larger, the list of links grew longer, and I kept falling behind and unable to post regular BFP Round Ups. Some of those articles were time sensitive so they got discarded as ‘stale and no longer relevant’. Some are still sitting on the list waiting for the addition of my comments and analyses. And here are a few important and interesting ones from the past few weeks without much need for added sound bites:

Obama’s Whistleblower-Hunt: Whistleblowers Long for Bush-Cheney Era Leniency?

OBYou thought the Bush-Cheney administration was bad? Think again; especially if you happen to be a whistleblower. Despite its awful record, the current administration witch-hunt like pursuit of whistleblowers and truth-tellers has many whistleblowers and truth-telling advocates longing for the Bush era climate. After all, everything is relevant, right? There was the bad, now it is the worse, or probably worst ever. Despite all the threats and muscle-flexing not a single whistleblower, including myself, got arrested or even pursued criminally under the previous regime. With Obama the era of threats has changed into an era of Punishment-Imprisonment and in some cases even torture. Here is one of the latest:

Former CIA officer indicted for leaks to reporter 
Peter Haldis, RCFP

A former CIA officer was indicted last month for allegedly providing a New York Times reporter with classified information. He is the latest in a string of leakers prosecuted by the Obama administration.

Jeffrey Sterling, 43, of O’Fallon, Mo., was indicted on 10 counts, including six counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and one count of obstruction of justice. He was arrested Thursday in St. Louis.Sterling was indicted Dec. 22, 2010, and the indictment was unsealed Thursday.

Sterling is the fifth leaker to be prosecuted by the Obama administration. The others include: former National Security Agency official Thomas Drake, who allegedly sent classified information to an unknown newspaper reporter; Stephen Kim, a former Department of State analyst who allegedly leaked an intelligence report to an unidentified reporter; Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army private alleged to have leaked classified information to Wikileaks; and Shamai Leibowitz, a former FBI linguist who was convicted in May 2010 of charges related to the leaking of classified information to an unidentified blogger and sentenced to 20 months in prison.

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 ‘Rent-A-Generals’ Consulting Firms: An Industry in Its Own

genLast month I came across the following coverage at War Is Business by Corey Pein. This Monday Peter and I will be interviewing Mr. Pein, meanwhile if you haven’t seen this great website check it out now, and put it in your ‘Favorite’ list of websites. I am really looking forward to this interview, too many topics of interest to cover!

‘Rent-A-Generals’ & ‘the Militarization of Economy’ 
By Corey Pein, War Is Business

This man is William B Burdeshaw, a retired US Army Brigadier General and founder of what the Boston Globe, in its must-read investigation of rampant corruption in Pentagon procurement, calls “one of the oldest ‘rent-a-general’ consulting firms” in the country.

His company, Burdeshaw Associates Ltd, is essentially a fixer for corporations looking to land military contracts. The firm is apparently so good at this, its influential “associates”—mostly retired, high-ranking officers—can sell the Pentagon things it didn’t even know it needed.

Read Globe reporter Bryan Bender describe how Burdeshaw cleverly wrung $109 million from the Pentagon for the firm’s client, Northrop Grumman, which wanted to build a remote-controlled helicopter called the Fire Scout. [Read more...]