As we are inundated virtually 24/7, about “Where’s Waldo” (or Snowden, actually), it is nice to look behind the scenes, or as they say in OZ, the Magic Curtain. Edward Snowden was the Booz Allen contractor, assigned to an NSA Facility in Honolulu, who fled to Hong Kong, and leaked sensitive information and documents. Right now, he’s rumored to be in a “Transit Area”–now, remember that he’s not really IN Russia–but he IS IN the Moscow Airport. Got that? OK, that’s the last I’ll write about “The Leaker”.
Booz Allen, a prominent management consulting firm, is majority-owned (reportedly 67%) by the private equity firm, The Carlyle Group, a name which you have probably heard before, I’m sure. After Carlyle bought Booz Allen, it sold-off the less-profitable International and Commercial Business, preferring to focus on the Defense and Intelligence Business. The Carlyle Headquarters is located, on Pennsylvania Avenue, half-way between the White House and the Capital, and quite near other Agencies.
Now, people refer to the famous “Revolving Door” in Washington, where executives move back and forth, among Business, The Pentagon, Congress and, for Carlyle, even the White House. The Group is the epitome of Power Washington. Among its (current and former) Officers, Board Members, Consultants and other Advisors, you will find names such as: George H.W. Bush (employed while his Son, George W., was President); James Baker (former Secretary of State); John Majors (former UK Prime Minister) and Fidel Ramos (former President of the Philippines).
Just to name a few, more recent hands-on managers, who either went from the Administration to Carlyle or Booz Allen, or vice versa, includes: Lt. Gen James R. Clapper, USAF Ret, previously Director of NSA, and currently Director of National intelligence, had worked at Booz Allen in between those two stints in Government; Frank Carlucci, former Secretary of Defense (Reagan), was Carlyle Group Chairman from 1989 to 2005 and Richard Darman, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (G.W. Bush), served as Director and, then, Senior Advisor.
So, as the old saying goes, with friends like these, who needs enemies? Just look at the lists of boards and you start to see common names. We see this throughout the Beltway Business-Government Nepotocracy. Just think about it: there are laws against marrying your own Sister; but, not against your Administration shifting contracts to the private firm (meaning no public records) where your Father and friends work.
So, as we hear about the Government, and the Country, needing to have a”Discussion” about devising the proper mix between Security, Secrecy and Public Knowledge, let’s look behind that Magic (Revolving) Curtain. Methinks the “Emperor” has no clothes.