The spy who billed me twice


Wednesday July 29, 2009

By Julian Assange (investigations editor, WikiLeaks)

From Guantanámo to your doorstep: the intelligence industry’s revolving cash door

There has been extensive political debate in the United States on how safe it would be to move Guantanámo’s detainees to US soil—but what about their interrogators?

A confidential 1525 page file of correspondence released to the public by WikiLeaks provides insights into the privatization of intelligence operations in the United States and the movement of such individuals into domestic intelligence “fusion” centers.

One intelligence officer, Kia Grapham, is hawked by her contracting company to the Washington State Patrol. Grapham’s confidential resume boasts of assisting in over 100 interrogations of “high value human intelligence targets” at Guantanámo. She goes on, saying how she is trained and certified to employ Restricted Interrogation Technique: Separation as specified by FM 2-22.3 Appendix M.

FM 2-22.3 is the US Army’s Human Intelligence Collector Operations manual, a “fit for public consumption” guide introduced in September, 2006 and still formal US military doctrine. Appendix M, “separation”, contains instructions on how to isolate and interrogate detainees 20 hours a day. Four hours a day sleep is permitted. “Suggested Approach Combinations” it says, are, “Futility. Incentive. Fear Up.”

Others, like, Neoma Syke, managed to repeatedly flip between the military and contractor intelligence work—without even leaving the building.

The file details the placement of six intelligence contractors inside the Washington Joint Analytical Center (WAJAC) on behalf of the Washington State Patrol at a cost of around $110,000 per year each.

Such intelligence “fusion” centers, which combine the military, the FBI, state police, and others, have been internally promoted by the US Army as means to avoid restrictions preventing the military from spying on the domestic population.

Neoma Syke’s intelligence resume starts on page 351. From September 2001 to October 2003, she served as member of the Army at a military base in Hawaii.

In October 2003, she left the military, and managed to get herself employed by intelligence contractor SAIC, within the same month, at the same military base, and served as a contractor there from until November 2004. During 2003-2004, she was “working for SAIC” as a force protection analyst with “SAIC’s” 205th Military Intelligence Battalion. And while she was “a contractor for SAIC”, specifically, “SAIC’s” 205th Military Intelligence Battalion, apparently she served as Counterintelligence Watch Officer at USARPAC’s Crisis Action Center.

She then transfers to another military base as an employee of another contracting company, “The Sytex Group” for a period from December 2004 to April 2005, and then just as transparently as she started, she re-enters the military and assumes an actual military position again, as a Counterintelligence Agent.

Finally, in November 2008, apparently without resigning from the military, Operational Applications Inc. attempts to contract her to the Washington State Patrol for placement in the WAJAC at around $105,000 a year over three years.

We can see what is in it for the contractors, but why are military and police commanders encouraging this mercenary behavior?

Is it simply corruption? Sweet deals for contractors and an off-books method of boosting the salaries of favored personnel?

Or are some of these placements designed to evade a raft of hard won oversight laws which apply to the military and the police but not to contractors? Is it to keep selected personnel out of the Inspector General’s eye?

Whatever the original cause for such bizarre placements, the ability to avoid formal oversight mechanisms can not have gone unnoticed.

Source documents


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