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The Republican Quest to Privatize All Government Has Jeopardized National Security

Last updated on September 25th, 2023 at 08:40 pm

It is certainly no revelation that Republicans have a significant enough amount of hate for the federal government that they will take nearly any means necessary to guarantee its failure. Maybe they are not praying for America to fail, but they do want government to fail to give private enterprise operational control over government to relieve the people of their rights, assets, and benefits as citizens. Since the Bush administration, there appears to be no end to Republican machinations to privatize every aspect of government regardless the risk and danger to the nation. Over the past two weeks, Americans have witnessed just one aspect of government that Republicans handed over to privatization, and it is a clear and present danger to the security of the people of the United States.

Republican strategy in giving the impression that government agencies are failures is starving them of resources, or creating impossible to meet standards that give the appearance programs to serve the people are disasters and better served by the private sector. Republicans have had a measure of success portraying the United States Postal Service (USPS), Social Security Administration, and Medicare as failures by starving them of funding through devious means they would never impose on the private sector. For example, allowing the wealthy to avoid paying into Social Security and Medicare at the same rate and on all their income as other working Americans contributes to shortfalls Republicans claim contribute to debt and deficit, or requiring the USPS to bank 75 years’ worth of retirement benefits for future employees not yet born gives the appearance the agency is hemorrhaging money and costing taxpayers precious dollars. According to Republican ideology, government exists to profit the private sector, and they fabricate any reason to hand government operations to for-profit private enterprise to enrich their campaign donors.

The current outrage over the decade-old story the National Security Agency monitors communications to track terror suspects and protect the nation from another 9/11 attack, and the emergence of a private contractor-turned martyr, exposes another privatization scheme-gone wrong that most Americans are unaware of, and it is the result of Republican unwillingness to spend money on the one government agency tasked with protecting America. If there is any part of the government that should not be outsourced it is the intelligence-gathering community responsible for keeping Americans and this nation safe, and yet since 2001, to give Americans’ tax dollars to the private sector, the NSA transferred an alarming amount of its operations to civilian contractors in what may be the most absurd outsourcing endeavor in America’s history.

Instead of investing money in technological advancements to keep national intelligence operations under the purview of the United States government, NSA was forced to shift operations to private contractors whose primary regard is not national security or allegiance to America, but to private industry’s bottom line. Last week, the director of national intelligence testified that in 2001, the NSA outsourced its I.T. infrastructure “to push more of our work to contractors” such as Booz Allen, the company Edward Snowden was a systems administrator for and the reason a civilian had access to “highly classified programs” he leaked to the media. Last week, Senator Diane Feinstein said “I’m very concerned that we have government contractors doing what are essentially governmental jobs,” and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi added that “maybe we should bring some of that more in-house.” As it is now, a little over 70% of the nation’s intelligence spending goes directly to the private sector, and out of the $80 billion budget for this year, $56 billion will flow directly to civilian contractors whose allegiance is not to national security, but their profit margin. It is why self-aggrandizing Snowden’s primary concern was not national security, but trumpeting his “heroic” action evidenced in his boasts he had access and ability to spy on any American’s communications that many citizens are up in arms over.

There are serious issues inherent with outsourcing critical intelligence gathering operations to private contractors, and regardless civilians have top-secret security clearances, Americans should be distressed that their tax dollars provide civilians access to their private communications. There is alleged to be a half-a-million private contractors with top-secret security clearances conducting the nation’s most secret and sensitive operations, and because they are not part of the NSA chain of command, or any other security agency, they do not fall under the aegis of Congressional oversight like a government national security agency employee and brings into question where contractors’ loyalties really lie; with the intelligence service, America’s national security, or their company’s shareholders.

There are also NSA civilian contractors working in league with covert CIA operatives, and after Blackwater’s disreputable performance throughout the Iraq War, one would think unaccountable civilians working with the CIA, or gathering top-secret intelligence information for profit, would dissuade the government from using private contractors in security-sensitive positions. Then there is the issue of private contractors providing advice on how to spend billions of dollars of government money in procurement and to manage large projects that should belong to intelligent agencies to prevent the potential for corruption and conflict of interest. Last April, the Pentagon’s Inspector General discovered that out of 28 tasks in a $231-million contract, nine were awarded to civilian contractors involved in “secret and highly sensitive operations” that “included inherently governmental duties” that are “by law reserved for government operatives;” not civilian contractors.

The lesson America should learn is that there are very few times that taxpayer dollars should be spent on government programs run by civilians for the sake of accountability; especially on something as critical as national security. Republicans certainly spent billions and billions on national security after 9/11, but it went to the private sector instead of equipping the NSA with the latest technology to protect America and its people. It is another case of Republicans enriching their campaign donors in the corporate and private world with taxpayer dollars, and in the NSA case, taxpayer dollars hired a civilian with top-secret clearance and a penchant for attention that led him to leak a 12 year old story to the media.

America’s intelligence agencies are beholden to proper oversight, but the private sector is not regardless they have security clearances reserved for the CIA and NSA, and it is high-time America’s national security is taken out of the hands of private, for profit, civilians. The government already appropriates funding for national security, and there is no reason those tax dollars should not be spent on government agencies instead of private contractors. Republicans love spending money, but only if it flows directly to their donors in the private sector regardless the consequences to national security or the safety and well-being of the American people. Giving any civilian access to top-secret national security information is foolhardy, and one could hardly imagine a government employee with top-secret clearance leaking crucial information that could jeopardize the nation’s security, unless it was war criminal Dick Cheney leaking the name of an active CIA field agent.


Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion. Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn't look good. Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.

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