June 16, 2013
Military contractor Booz Allen Hamilton of McLean, Virginia, has shot into the news recently over two of its former employees: Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who has just revealed the extent of US global spying on electronic data of ordinary citizens around the world, and James Clapper, US director of national intelligence.
Clapper has come out vocally to condemn Snowden as a traitor to the public interest and the country, yet a review of Booz Allen’s own history suggests that the government should be investigating his former employer, rather than the whistleblower.
Clapper worked as vice-president at Booz Allen from 1997 to 1998, while Snowden did a three-month stint at their offices in Hawaii in spring 2013 as a low-level contract employee. Both worked on intelligence contracts, which are estimated to make up almost a quarter of the company’s $5.86bn in annual income. This past weekend, Clapper condemned Snowden’s leak about US government surveillance, telling NBC News’s Andrea Mitchell:
“For me, it is literally – not figuratively – literally gut-wrenching to see this happen because of the huge, grave damage it does to our intelligence capabilities. This is someone who, for whatever reason, has chosen to violate a sacred trust for this country. I think we all feel profoundly offended by that.”