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The "National Security" Apparatus Has Been Hijacked to Serve the Needs of Big Business

George Washington's picture





 

Washington’s Blog

As I noted yesterday:

Claims
of "national security" are ... used to keep basic financial information
- such as who got bailout money - secret. That might not bode for
particularly warm and friendly treatment for someone persistently
demanding the release of such information.

I gave the following two examples:

  • Reuters noted in January:

    U.S.
    securities regulators originally treated the New York Federal
    Reserve's bid to keep secret many of the details of the American
    International Group bailout like a request to protect matters of national security, according to emails obtained by Reuters.

  • And Business Week wrote on May 23, 2006:

    President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations

Further
evidence comes from the Department of Homeland Security's involvement
in requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act. As
AP noted in July:

 

For
at least a year, the Homeland Security Department detoured requests
for federal records to senior political advisers for highly unusual
scrutiny, probing for information about the requesters and delaying
disclosures deemed too politically sensitive.

 

***

 

The
Freedom of Information Act, the main tool forcing the government to be
more open, is designed to be insulated from political considerations.

 

***

 

Career employees were ordered to provide Secretary Janet Napolitano's political staff with information about the people who asked for recordssuch as where they lived, whether they were private citizens or reporters — and about the organizations where they worked.

 

If a member of Congress sought such documents, employees were told to specify Democrat or Republican.

 

***

 

The special reviews at times delayed the release of information to Congress, watchdog groups and the news media for weeks beyond the usual wait, even though the directive specified the reviews should take no more than three days.

***

Two exceptions required White House review: requests to see documents about spending under the $862 billion stimulus law and the calendars for Cabinet members.

 

Calendars became politically sensitive after AP obtained them for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. They described calls several times each day with Wall Street executives.

 

***

 

Under
the law, people can request copies of U.S. government records without
specifying why they want them and are not obligated to provide personal
information about themselves other than their name and an address
where the records should be sent.

 

Yet several times, at least, junior political staffers asked superiors about the motives or affiliations of the requesters

Wired described it this way:

The
DHS issued a directive to employees in July 2009 requiring a wide
range of public records requests to pass through political appointees
for vetting. These included any requests dealing with
a “controversial or sensitive subject” or pertaining to meetings
involving prominent business leaders and elected officials. Requests
from lawmakers, journalists, and activist and watchdog groups were also
placed under this scrutiny.

 

Moreover, as the ACLU notes, Fusion Centers - a hybrid of military, intelligence agency, police and private corporations set up in centers throughout the country,
and run by the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland
Security - allow big businesses like Boeing to get access to classified
information which gives them an unfair advantage over smaller
competitors:

Participation in fusion centers might give
Boeing access to the trade secrets or security vulnerabilities of
competing companies, or might give it an advantage in competing for
government contracts. Expecting a Boeing analyst to distinguish between
information that represents a security risk to Boeing and information
that represents a business risk may be too much to ask.

(Similarly, Blackwater/Xe provides security for both the government and large corporations, and is interconnected with intelligence gathering operations.) 

And a large portion of all intelligence work has now being outsourced to private companies. For example, according to the Washington Post:

Close to 30 percent of the workforce in the intelligence agencies is contractors.

And under the FBI's Infraguard program, businesses sometimes receive intel even before elected officials.

Of
course, "no-bid" contracts in Iraq and elsewhere are another example
of how national security claims have been used to bypass the normal
bidding process which is designed to save taxpayers money. Halliburton
and other friends of the Bush administration have received tremendous
windfalls in this fashion. And because BP supplies most of the oil and gas to the U.S. military, I would be surprised if BP has to participate in normal bidding procedures for new war-related projects.

Indeed, the whole Gulf oil spill is a classic example of how national
security claims have been used to protect a private corporation.
Specifically, as many reporters, scientists and locals have testified
(and as will come out more in the next couple of years), the Department
of Homeland Security has helped to enforce a blackout of information on
how bad the oil spill was, and has hindered scientists from collecting
data from the most impacted sites.  See this, this and this.

And
Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson warned Congress that there would be
martial law unless the Tarp bailouts were approved. As I pointed out last October:

The New York Times wrote on July 16th:

In retrospect, Congress felt bullied by Mr. Paulson last year. Many of them fervently believed they should not
prop up the banks that had led us to this crisis — yet they were
pushed by Mr. Paulson and Mr. Bernanke into passing the $700 billion
TARP, which was then used to bail out those very banks.

***
Congressmen
Brad Sherman and Paul Kanjorski and Senator James Inhofe all say that
the government warned of martial law if Tarp wasn't passed:

Bait And Switch

Indeed, the Tarp Inspector General has said that Paulson misrepresented some fundamental aspects of Tarp.

And Paulson himself has said:

During the two weeks that Congress considered the [Tarp] legislation, market conditions worsened considerably. It
was clear to me by the time the bill was signed on October 3rd that we
needed to act quickly and forcefully, and that purchasing troubled
assets—our initial focus—would take time to implement and would not be
sufficient given the severity of the problem
. In
consultation with the Federal Reserve, I determined that the most
timely, effective step to improve credit market conditions was to
strengthen bank balance sheets quickly through direct purchases of
equity in banks.

So Paulson knew "by the time the bill was
signed" that it wouldn't be used for its advertised purpose - disposing
of toxic assets - and would instead be used to give money directly to
the big banks?

And see this and this.

In
the above-described ways - and many others as well - the entire
"national security" apparatus has been hijacked to serve the needs of
big business.

President Eisenhower warned us about the
military-industrial complex. But its not just the "military".
Homeland Security, intelligence agencies, and other portions of the
government have also become servants of big business as well.

Indeed, the interests of the government and big business are so closely aligned
that some high-level government officials may consider any threat to
the bottom line of the big banks and other corporate giants as an
existential threat to the nation's security.

 


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Fri, 09/17/2010 - 13:05 | Link to Comment AchtungAffen
AchtungAffen's picture

You deregulated. And you also privatized. Several years later you woke up to the fact that your boss is now your master. And also that the State is now your coworker, only in a "manager" position a little above you. And what did you do? Complain about big gubermint and communists, while you picked cotton (if you still had a job) under the whip of the goobermint for the benefit of that private big business trust you love so much... innovation at its finest.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 19:56 | Link to Comment michigan independant
michigan independant's picture

http://econ.bus.utk.edu/november%20newsschool.pdf

Every Guv prick who thinks 2 percent inflation models should be continued and then see who hires them that who.

Also http://biotech.rpi.edu/index.php/news/62-news/227-rensselaer-polytechnic-institute-researchers-develop-coating-that-safely-kills-mrsa-on-contact-

The new coating marries carbon nanotubes with lysostaphin, a naturally occurring enzyme used by non-pathogenic strains of Staph bacteria to defend against Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA. The resulting nanotube-enzyme “conjugate” can be mixed with any number of surface finishes — in tests, it was mixed with ordinary latex house paint.

July edition of the journal ACS Nano, published by the American Chemical Society.

 

 

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 18:42 | Link to Comment New World Chaos
New World Chaos's picture

Creepy article about Homeland Security's Stasi-like treatment of anti-gas protesters, including intelligence sharing between multiple law enforcement agencies and the companies themselves.  Hippies are on double-secret probation.
http://www.boingboing.net/2010/09/15/pa-homeland-security.html

As GW will surely remind you, the police state also does BP's dirty work.  $40,000 fines, felony charges, and a ride in the Homeland Security van for photographing cleanup or PB facilities.  Cash-strapped local cops paid directly by BP.
http://www.prisonplanet.com/gulf-coast-now-a-bp-police-state-as-law-enforcement-conspires-with-bp-to-intimidate-journalists.html

I see corporatist stooges... they're everywhere!

 

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 19:33 | Link to Comment TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

Fascist = Corporatists = Nazis

 

I fear we are in a loop. Those who fail to  learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

How do we break this cycle?

Or do we just bail and get out of Dodge?

 

 

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 20:17 | Link to Comment New World Chaos
New World Chaos's picture

Yes, the solution to government failure is always more government, until the whole system collapses.  This cycle will continue until so many sheeple die that the survivors become significantly smarter.  Right now, America is flirting with a massive national Darwin Award but in the long run this might be a good thing.  "Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children?!?"

For the short term, I suggest bugging out.  Moved to New Zealand in '06.  Interested?

In the long term, I also suggest bugging out- to space.  There is significant risk of having world government -> world North Korea -> world collapse -> Golden Age of Cannibalism -> Mad Max -> civilization re-emerges but is stuck with Renaissance level technology forever, due to loss of easy resources and loss of machines to extract the hard resources. 

The sheeple will also take a very long time to evolve, and selection pressures (gulags) might turn them into perfect slaves. 

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 17:41 | Link to Comment Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

This is why the professional DOD is concerned...

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 17:01 | Link to Comment Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

So has the LEGAL apparatus with the use of incorporation.

Ethical, moral, and unaccountable freeforall, and a sad day for the rule of law.

Corporate welfare on it's way to parasitically turning the US (and world) into an entrenched corporatocracy.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 16:29 | Link to Comment RecoveringDebtJunkie
RecoveringDebtJunkie's picture

We should also recognize our complicity in the destructive actions of our large corporations and fascist government. The best thing we can do now is withdraw our support from these institutions in any way we can. Maybe it won't make a difference at this stage of the game, but at least we'll be doing what's right, if that word means anything anymore.

http://peakcomplexity.blogspot.com/2010/09/confronting-our-complicity.html

 

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 21:13 | Link to Comment RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Very good article, thanks for the link.   There are references to ZH articles to boot.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 19:30 | Link to Comment TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

Excellent link. This should be published on ZeroHedge.

+100

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:48 | Link to Comment aerojet
aerojet's picture

You can add to the list the windfall garned by the sale of those ridiculous and controversial full-body airport security scanners that were unpopular until the underwear bomber somehow got on a plane without a passport.  Fascism--the unholy collusion of state with the so-called private sector.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 17:29 | Link to Comment Frankie Carbone
Frankie Carbone's picture

How do you think that "somehow" happened?

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:26 | Link to Comment Traianus Augustus
Traianus Augustus's picture

I watch the Dow Jones Transports on a daily basis and over the past 18 months IMO they have been a huge catalyst for the markets recovery.  They were down 60% plus by March 08 and they have lead the markets up at least half the time.  From the looks of it National Security and Transports go together like PB&J.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:14 | Link to Comment curbyourrisk
curbyourrisk's picture

Ya know...I know this makes no sense but one company out there that I have no fucking clue made it through was DTG (NYSE)  One day they are teetering on bankruptcy and 12 months later they are being baught in a bidding war for $50 a share. 

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:01 | Link to Comment Rusty_Shackleford
Rusty_Shackleford's picture

"Classified my ass.

That's a fucking secret, and you know it."

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:59 | Link to Comment frosty zoom
frosty zoom's picture

 

The "National Security" Apparatus Has Been Hijacked to Serve the Needs of Big Business

 

NEWSFLASH!

 

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:34 | Link to Comment hugolp
hugolp's picture

The "national security" aparatus was created to help big business.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:37 | Link to Comment sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

+ 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

Thank you!

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 17:28 | Link to Comment Frankie Carbone
Frankie Carbone's picture

Better to post that number now Sgt. Three years from now you'll be offering him the amount needed to buy a candy bar.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:15 | Link to Comment Bankster T Cubed
Bankster T Cubed's picture

earnings at publicly traded companies -- are they a matter of national security?   Does IBM post earnings according to what "they need to be?"  do all the bigs?

at this point, I'd be shocked if the numbers were legit. 

In the name of nat'l security, they've turned the entire system into Madoff LLC.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:08 | Link to Comment Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

You bet!

http://www.sovereignman.com/expat/pick-your-battles/

When you look at how much the world has changed over the last several years, and you consider how fast things are changing now, I think we only have a few years remaining before much of what we know today changes dramatically.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:04 | Link to Comment Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

The Big companies have been running the western world for decades already.

Those big companies all run their own secret service. That means they have 2 kinds of services at their position.

One with the voice of the government and one with the voice of their own will.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:55 | Link to Comment LeBalance
LeBalance's picture

A competent parasite knows exactly how much it can steal from its prey.  That means one of two things (1) these folks are not good at what they do, OR (2) this game has progressed to another stage and we have been deemed expendable.

Any Holy Wood movies out that might indicate whether we are "The Expendables" or not?

and...

Go GW Go!

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:53 | Link to Comment prophet
prophet's picture

Well they don't need us to pay taxes anymore since they can just borrow whatever they need.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:51 | Link to Comment williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

Anything that is critical to the national debt manufacturing apparatus is of National Security importance.

You can bet the military is all over this.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:22 | Link to Comment George Washington
George Washington's picture

I'd be grateful if someone could point to info showing that the government has picked winners and losers through HFT or more official programs, especially if somehow tied into (through a single step or two steps) national security ...

I want to add this:

"Many have also accused the government of picking winners and losers. For example, Lehman was allowed to fail while others were spared. Certainly, the too big to fail banks have been propped up, while lots of little guys have been allowed to fail."

But I don't know how to tie it into national security ....

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 19:29 | Link to Comment caconhma
caconhma's picture

It is important to understand that the 9/11 was nothing to do with Muslims terrorists in the USA. The 9/11 was a coup d'etat by America's ruling elite and security apparatus against the foundation of the American Constitution.

At this day, America has made a quantum step from a democratic society to a totalitarian one.

Unfortunately, the US Congress perfectly played its role of presenting and promoting interests and agenda of their real Wall-Street and big business masters.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:32 | Link to Comment sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

Listen, while I greatly appreciate this post it is fundamentally nonsensical in nature as it buys into the recent reframing of all this BS by the likes of those silly, and pre-financed books, by Shane Harris (The Watchers), and Eamon Javers (Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy), and that B***S**t Washington Post articles on the private contractors in National Security.

Puuuuuhlease...give this American thinking person a break.  The US Financial-Intelligence Complex (the level ABOVE the military-industrial-congressional-complex, in other words, senior management) came into existence during World War II, and was created by the Wall Streeters (read your history, for a change!!!!) who then proceeded to bounce back and forth between the senior-level intel directorates at the various intel agencies, and Wall Street.

During the past four four presidential administrations the American intel community has been almost completely privatized, so bouncing back and forth is no longer required.

(My semi-educated guess is that the control, or management element, is primarily Booz-Allen Hamilton and similar outfits, with the operational element being primarily SAIC, etc.)

You have to realize all the vast and myriad connections between Wall Street, the global finance community, and the intel establishment.

Who was Richard Helms' (a CIA director) grandfather?  A director at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) back in the '30s.

Why did Casey, who became a director of the CIA in the Reagan Administration, privatize the earth resource data from American spy satellites, when it was once given freely to the public, and then only handed over to his Wall Street cronies?  (Answer is obvious!)

What did Richard Bissell do prior to become the top CIA planner (hint:  pivotal in establishing the Marshall Plan, and was descended from the father of the oil industry, Henry Bissell)?

Why are all intel planners also economists?

Why was Antonin Scalia attending intel forums prior to becoming a SCOTUS chief justice?

Why did so many of the top US intel people, back in the '50s, '60s and early '70s, come through the Ford Foundation?

Nope, nothing to this reframing of the truth (inadvertently on GW's part, I'm not blaming anyone here)!

It's about the Financial-Intelligence Complex, which has historically been running or coordinating the big picture, and has never been concerned with national security, ONLY financial intelligence, and power and political control.

'Nuff said......

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 16:42 | Link to Comment Spawn of Cagliostro
Spawn of Cagliostro's picture

Here here! Well said (written).

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!