Conflict & Justice

Washington's Reliance on Contractors for Surveillance

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"No Place to Hide" book by Robert O'Harrow (Credit: Amazon.com)

Contractors do much of our government's national security and surveillance work.

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Edward Snowden, the man who leaked documents revealing the government's surveillance of phone and Internet communications, worked for Booz Allen Hamilton. He had access to sensitive information.

Robert O'Harrow is an investigative reporter for the Washington Post. He's also author of the book "No Place to hide: Behind the Scenes of Our Emerging Surveillance Society."

He says Snowden represents "one of tens of thousands of intelligence workers hired since 9/11."

The upside of the government using contractors O'Harrow says is that they "provide incredibly valuable services across the board including in the intelligence world."

The downside is "the contractor world has expanded so rapidly, while the oversight inside the government has remained largely stagnant. So that you have real problems with oversight not just from a contracting budget spending perspective, but quite obviously when it comes to keeping track of insiders who might leak information."

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