Booz Allen Hamilton, the massive private corporation contracted to work with the NSA to spy on Internet users around the world, is not doing so well after their employee, Edward Snowden, leaked details about its vast spying operation.
Not only is its stock price down 6 percent since Snowden revealed himself last weekend, but its standing as the go-to private spying company the world over is now in jeopardy. It's just been a rough week to be a spook turned private sector cyber-spy.
The Times writes about the tough task ahead for former-NSA director Mike McConnell, who now is vice-president at Booz Allen. Booz Allen has a lot to lose by its failure to keep its employees in line: massive government contracts that are pretty much the main source of revenue for the company. And its customers are not only the United States government — the United Arab Emirates contracted Booz Allen to create their own domestic spying agency.
But Snowden's leak casts a very harsh light on Booz Allen's practices. Namely, how easy is it to get these type of clearances, and why is a private company doing the spying for the NSA (which is the NSA's function)?
The Senate will now try to limit the access that these types of private companies (which act as a revolving door for executives going in and out of the NSA) have to sensitive information.
“We will certainly have legislation which will limit or prevent contractors from handling highly classified and technical data,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Or at least they will try to — the Times reports on how heavily entrenched private contractors are in the security (and spying) world:
Of the 1.4 million people with Top Secret clearances, more than a third are private contractors. (The background checks for those clearances are usually done by other contractors.)
Whether any actual legislation or reform is done about the NSA spy programs that Snowden revealed, at least one multinational private spy agency is hurting in the bank.