You don’t need a neocon to know the way the wind blows

Want to know what Richard Armitage has been doing all this time?
My latest, from Salon:

Ever since the 1950s, with the rise of America’s modern military-industrial complex, high-level U.S. officials and military men have moved between the government and private sectors. But what we have today with the intelligence business is something far more systemic: senior officials leaving their national security and counterterrorism jobs for positions where they are basically doing the same jobs they once held at the CIA, the NSA and other agencies — but for double or triple the salary, and for profit. It’s a privatization of the highest order, in which our collective memory and experience in intelligence — our crown jewels of spying, so to speak — are owned by corporate America. Yet, there is essentially no government oversight of this private sector at the heart of our intelligence empire. And the lines between public and private have become so blurred as to be nonexistent…

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Shortly after leaving government in 2005, Armitage was recruited to the board of directors of ManTech International, a $1.7 billion corporation that does extensive work for the National Security Agency and other intelligence collection agencies. He’s also since advised two private equity funds with significant holdings in intelligence enterprises. Veritas Capital, where Armitage served as a senior adviser from 2005 to 2007, owns intelligence consultant McNeil Technologies Inc. and DynCorp International, an important security contractor in Iraq. For a time, Veritas also owned MZM, Inc., the CIA and defense intelligence contractor that was caught — before the Veritas acquisition — bribing former Republican Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham.

In 2007, Armitage, along with several Veritas executives, moved over to DC Capital Partners, an intelligence-oriented buyout firm with some $200 million in assets. One of its first acquisitions after Armitage came on board was Omen Inc., a Maryland company that provides information technology and consulting services to the NSA. The fund has since combined Omen with two other intelligence contractors to form a new company called National Interests Security Company LLC, which has 850 employees, more than half of them holding top secret or higher security clearances.

Through his own eponymous consulting firm, Armitage has lobbied on behalf of L-3 Communications Inc., one of the nation’s largest intelligence contractors, to help it sell anti-submarine surveillance systems to Taiwan. L-3, like ManTech, is also heavily involved in Iraq. (Further topping off Armitage’s investment interests in the war: He sits on the board of directors of ConocoPhillips, which is aiming to become a major player in Iraq’s energy industry through a joint venture with Russia’s Lukoil.)

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