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US: Fort Huachuca intelligence center draws private contractors

by Mike SunnucksPhoenix Business Journal
November 7th, 2007

An increasing amount of U.S. intelligence work -- including training related to aggressive interrogation methods -- is being parceled out to defense firms making Arizona's Fort Huachuca a major contracting hub.

The base, which sits near the Mexican border about 190 miles southeast of Phoenix, is home to the U.S. Army's Military Intelligence Center.

Large contractors such as General Dynamics, which has an information technology division in Scottsdale; Lockheed Martin, L-3 Communications, which has operations in Mesa; CACI International; and ManTech International all conduct work at Fort Huachuca and have offices in Sierra Vista adjacent to the base. The companies posted a combined $79 billion in revenue in 2006.

There also are smaller companies -- including AllSource Global Management, Integrated Systems Improvement Services, both based in Sierra Vista, and Phoenix-based Castillo Technologies, that do work intelligence work at the base.

Privatized intelligence work is an increasingly big business, said Pratap Chatterjee, program director for CorpWatch, a California-based watchdog group.

Chatterjee estimates that as much as 50 percent to 70 percent of U.S. intelligence work, training and technology is handled by private firms making it a $20 billion to $40 billion sector.

But it also is a controversial business.

Huachuca is one of the primary training centers for interrogation techniques, data collection and covert operations. Intelligence personnel trained at the Arizona base are stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Amnesty International and other human rights groups criticize U.S. policies related to prisoner interrogations and question whether certain techniques and how they are taught at Huachucha amount to or lead to torture.

Jumana Musa, advocacy director for Amnesty International USA, said interrogation techniques taught at Huachuca may include water boarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions, phobia exploitation and sexual humiliation of suspects.

Musa said Amnesty also is concerned about the oversight and training of private contractors that do intelligence work at the Arizona base.

The U.S. Army and Bush administration deny the torture claims.

Fort Huachuca spokeswoman Tanja Linton, said contractors perform a wide variety of services at the base, including in the intelligence arena.

Linton said intelligence personnel are taught straight from Army field manuals and abide by applicable U.S. laws including those passed after Abu Gharib. She said training is "transparent" and is made open to the media and elected officials.

"Human intelligence being conducted in theaters of operation under this lawful policy is critical to saving American, coalition, and innocent lives and to enabling success in our military mission," she said.

Some of the military intelligence firms contacted for this story did not respond to or declined request for comment.

Integrated Systems Improvement Services and AllSource list jobs available on their Web sites for military intelligence instructors, counterintelligence agents and instructors, intelligence analysts, technicians and linguists and intelligence collection trainers. The jobs often require top secret security clearance and military experience.

Others said their intelligence work at Huachuca is not directly related to interrogations, but that they provide technical and support services for intelligence training.

CACI International Vice President Jody Brown confirmed her company provides services to military and national intelligence agencies, but would not elaborate.

"We don't discuss classified work with the media. It is illegal," Brown said. CACI did provide interrogation services in Iraq up until 2005, and some of its workers were at Abu Gharib. The company said no CACI workers were indicted for prison abuse, and Brown said CACI no longer provides interrogation services.

ManTech spokesman Mark Root said intelligence makes up a large percentage of work that the Virginia company does for the Pentagon. Root said Mantech offers telecommunications support at "Ft. H." and does not teach interrogation techniques.

ManTech also has family ties to Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi, whose father is a retired Army general and executive with the company.

Lockheed spokesman Keith Mordoff said employees provide technical support for Army intelligence at Huachuca.

"They are not involved in interrogation work," said Mordoff, who declined to say how many employees Lockheed has at the base.

General Dynamics spokeswoman Jennifer Montesano referred questions about intelligence contracts to the Army base.

Two Roman Catholic priests (Steve Kelly and Louis Vitale) were sentenced to five months each in federal prison last month for trespassing on the base last year. The pair were delivering a protest letter to commanders about the possibility of torture techniques being taught there.

Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast is an intelligence commander at Huachuca and was a top Army intelligence officer in Iraq during Abu Gharib.

Some intelligence personnel trained at Huachuca were involved in abusive interrogation techniques at Iraq's Abu Gharib prison, according to a U.S. Army investigation.





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