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Re: SAIC bought ... [NOISE]

At 7:27 PM 10/11/95, Alan Horowitz wrote:

>I used to work for SAIC. It's a legitimate beltway-bandito contractor. To
>call it a cover op is sort of missing a point. The government hardly ever
>does _anything_ itself (as, say, percentage of budget). Contractors are
>the ones who do the dirty work in the trenches.

        It's not missing the point at all; what I find particularly
alarming is this half-measure situation we increasingly find ourselves in,
wherein the state farms out the drudgery of being a state but reserves to
itself the prerogative to govern by obscure fiat. Institutions like SAIC
aren't accountable in a way that gov't agencies at least theoretically are,
yet the continuing existence of those agencies amidst this move toward
privatization perpetuates this increasingly mythical idea of
"accountability." If everything's going to go private, fine, whatever,
let's make a go of it, and no one can tell me what software I can/can't use
and how much I can/can't deposit, etc.; OTOH, if the USG wants to reserve
the right to tell me what I can and can't do in these regards, then it had
bloody well better submit to the "responsibility" that goes with that
"right": accountability to the electorate.
        Why do you think the spooks make such prodigious use of cutouts? In
part because it's an effective way of evading detection; and,
unfortunately, oversight is a subset of detection. I'm sure SAIC does tons
of perfectly legitimate contract work--but I'm equally sure that it does
tons of covert work. And far too much covert work is covert for no other
reason than it's stupid (read my lips: "exploding giant clams") or--in the
case at hand--something that a rapidly growing sector of the electorate
rightly regards with suspicion.