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Intelligence


From satellites that can photograph postage stamps from space to covert operatives who are searching for Osama bin Laden, private companies now help run much of the clandestine services for organizations like the Central Intelligence Agency. For example Science Applications International Corporation of San Diego, California, is designing the eavesdropping software for the National Security Agency in the United States to monitor phones, faxes and email.


Analysis: Dogs of War: Inherently governmental?
by David IsenbergUnited Press International
May 9th, 2008
Amid all the polemics over the use of private military and security contractors by the U.S. government there are two words one rarely sees, but they lie at the very heart of the debate: "inherently governmental."

Selling Your Secrets: The Invisible World of Software Backdoors and Bounty Hunters
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch/Tomdispatch
February 7th, 2014
Mass surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency involves close partnerships with high-tech companies in order to gather data on everyday people. The agency has cut deals to install secret backdoors into computers; exploit flaws in popular software; and surreptitiously analyze personal data from smartphone games.

Turning the Table on the Trackers: Wikileaks Sniffs out Spy Salesmen
by Pratap ChatterjeeSpecial to CorpWatch
September 6th, 2013
What was Mostapha Maanna of Hacking Team, an Italian surveillance company, doing on his three trips to Saudi Arabia in the last year? A new data trove from WikiLeaks reveals travel details for salesmen like Maanna who hawk electronic technology to track communications by individuals without their knowledge

Turkmenistan and Oman Negotiated to Buy Spy Software: Wikileaks
by Pratap ChatterjeeSpecial to CorpWatch
September 4th, 2013
Turkmenistan and Oman have been negotiating with a consortium of British, German and Swiss companies to buy “FinFisher” software to spy on phone calls and Internet activity of unsuspecting targets, according to a new trove of documents just released by Wikileaks, the global whistleblowing organization.

Surveillance Contractor Bug In Ecuador Embassy Fails to Stop Wikileaks
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
July 3rd, 2013
Bugging equipment from the Surveillance Group Limited, a British private detective agency, has been found in the Ecuadorean embassy in London where Julian Assange, editor of Wikileaks, has taken refuge. The spy devices have so far failed to foil the whistle blowing group's daring exploits to support Edward Snowden.

Raytheon Video Claims Riot Software Can Track Users Via Social Networks
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
February 13th, 2013
Raytheon, a U.S. military manufacturer, is selling a new software surveillance package named “Riot” that claims to predict where individuals are expected to go next using technology that mines data from social networks like Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter.

U.S. Congressional Wartime Commission Targets Armed Contractors
by Pratap ChatterjeeSpecial to CorpWatch
June 23rd, 2010
This week, almost a decade after the U.S. "War on Terror" began, the Commission on Wartime Contracting held two days of hearings into the role of private contractors in conducting and supporting war. The Congressional witness table included Aegis, DynCorp and Triple Canopy. Curiously, Blackwater was not called; and the CEO of Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions failed to appear.

US/AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN: U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts
by Mark MazzettiNew York Times
May 15th, 2010
Top military officials continue to rely on a secret network of private spies set up by Michael D. Furlong, despite concerns about the legality of the operation. A New York Times review found Mr. Furlong’s operatives still providing information, with contractors still being paid under a $22 million contract, managed by Lockheed Martin and supervised by a Pentagon office.

AFGHANISTAN/US: Outsourcing intelligence
by David IgnatiusWashington Post
March 17th, 2010
The headline read like something you might see in the conspiracy-minded Pakistani press: "Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants." But the story appeared in Monday's New York Times, and it highlighted some big problems that have developed in the murky area between military and intelligence activities.

Afghanistan Spy Contract Goes Sour for Pentagon
by Pratap ChatterjeeSpecial to CorpWatch
March 16th, 2010
Mike Furlong, a top Pentagon official, is alleged to have hired a company called International Media Ventures to supply information for drone strikes and assassinations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to a complaint filed by the CIA and revealed by the New York Times on March 15.

AFGHANISTAN/US: Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants
by DEXTER FILKINS and MARK MAZZETTINew York Times
March 15th, 2010
Under the cover of a benign government information-gathering program, a Defense Department official set up a network of private contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help track and kill suspected militants, according to military officials and businessmen in Afghanistan and the United States. The official, Michael D. Furlong, hired contractors from private security companies that employed former C.I.A. and Special Forces operatives.

US/CHINA: U.S. Holds Fire in Google-China Feud
by JAY SOLOMON, IAN JOHNSONAnd JASON DEANWall Street Journal
January 12th, 2010
U.S. government officials and business leaders were supportive but wary of taking sides in Google Inc.'s battle with China, a sign of the delicate tensions between the growing superpower and the West. Google has threatened to bolt from China over censorship and alleged cyber spying.

AFGHANISTAN: Lost in Limbo: Injured Afghan Translators Struggle to Survive
by Pratap ChatterjeeProPublica
December 17th, 2009
Local translators are hidden casualties of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. military uses defense contractors to hire local residents to serve as translators for the troops. These local translators often live, sleep and eat with soldiers. And yet when they are wounded, they are often ignored by the U.S. system designed to provide them medical care and disability benefits, according to an investigation by the Los Angeles Times and ProPublica.

Spies for Hire: New Online Database of U.S. Intelligence Contractors
by Tim ShorrockSpecial to CorpWatch
November 16th, 2009
CorpWatch joins with Tim Shorrock today, the first journalist to blow the whistle on the privatization of U.S. intelligence, in releasing Spies for Hire.org, a groundbreaking database focusing on the dozens of corporations that provide classified intelligence services to the United States government.

Mission Essential, Translators Expendable
by Pratap ChatterjeeSpecial to CorpWatch
August 11th, 2009
Ohio-based Mission Essential Personnel supplies over 2,000 translators to the Pentagon in Afghanistan, who play a critical role in protecting local and military lives. These interpreters are a key communications link. But if they are wounded or killed, they are often left to fend for themselves. This special features video of CorpWatch interviews with three Afghan whistleblowers, recorded in country in April. Click through to hear their story.

US: Cash-rich SAIC hits the acquisition trail
by Sami LaisWashington Technology
August 6th, 2009
Making a big splash in recent weeks, Science Applications International Corp. bought two companies, adding new capabilities in cybersecurity, energy and disaster recovery — areas in which government spending is expected to grow.

IRAN: Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology
by Christopher Rhoads and Loretta ChaoWall Street Journal
June 22nd, 2009
The Iranian regime has developed one of the world's most sophisticated mechanisms for controlling and censoring the Internet. The Iranian government appears to be engaging in a practice often called deep packet inspection. The monitoring capability was provided, at least in part, by a joint venture of Siemens AG, the German conglomerate, and Nokia Corp., the Finnish cellphone company.

US: Contractors Vie for Plum Work, Hacking for U.S. Government
by CHRISTOPHER DREW and JOHN MARKOFFNew York Times
May 30th, 2009
The Obama administration’s push into cyberwarfare has set off a rush among the biggest military companies for billions of dollars in new defense contracts. Nearly all of the largest military companies — including Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon — have major cyber contracts with the military and intelligence agencies.

US: Contracting Boom Could Fizzle Out
by Dana HedgpethWashington Post
April 7th, 2009
The surge in the U.S. military contracting workforce would ebb under Defense Secretary Gates's budget proposal as the Pentagon moves to replace private workers with full-time civil servants. The move could affect companies such as CACI and SAIC. "We are right-sizing the defense acquisition workforce so we can improve our contract oversight and get a better deal for the taxpayers," said the Pentagon's director of defense procurement and acquisition policy.

Outsourcing Intelligence in Iraq: A CorpWatch Report on L-3/Titan, Updated December 2008 with Recommendations from Amnesty International
by Pratap ChatterjeeSpecial to CorpWatch
December 9th, 2008
When U.S. troops or embassy officials want to investigate Iraqis - such as interrogating prisoners, the principal intermediary is a Manhattan based-company named L-3. CorpWatch is pleased to release an updated version of this report, with recommendations from Amnesty International on human rights and other standards for translation and intelligence contracting.

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