Ed Snowden — Benedict Arnold or Aaron Swartz?

SnowdenLooking for a job  in the US intelligence community   (an oxymoron if ever there was one)?

You may be in luck  because  a vacancy has popped up at  US  spy firm Booz Allen,  the CIA contractor where  Ed snowden and used to work, and ‘used to’ is the operative phrase  because they’ve fired him.

“Booz Allen can confirm that Edward Snowden, 29, was an employee of our firm for less than 3 months, assigned to a team in Hawaii.,”   it says in a statement.

Snowden, who had a salary at the rate of $122,000, was terminated June 10, 2013 for violations of the firm’s code of ethics and firm policy.

“News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm …

[…  “the firm provides professional services primarily to US government agencies in the defense, intelligence, and civil sectors, as well as to corporations, institutions, and not-for-profit organizations,” it says.

“Booz Allen offers clients deep functional knowledge spanning strategy and organization, technology, operations, and analytics-which it combines with specialized expertise in clients’ mission and domain areas to help solve their toughest problems.”

But  for Snowden, it isn’t over yet.

“We will work closely with our clients and authorities in their investigation of this matter,” the  ‘Beltway bandit contractor’ promises.

Snowden may have missed a  chance  to work in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia where Booz Allen   was, or already is,  exploring  other bidnes opportunities.

Meanwhile,  “Is Ed Benedict Arnold or Tom Paine, Daniel Ellsberg or Bradley Manning (or Aaron Swartz)? –  wonders
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For the moment, I’ll leave that to others to debate, and instead consider Snowden through another lens: as an exemplar of the conspicuous, decade-long economic boom of Washington, D.C.

We’ve been hearing more and more about this boom, as the disconnect grows between the ever-more-prosperous Beltway and a Rest of America only now recovering from the recession. You’ve seen the stats: Seven of the 10 highest-income counties are in the Washington area; of the counties with the highest levels of college graduates, the top three are in greater D.C., and five of the top 10.

There have been plenty of theories proffered to explain the Beltway boom—typically, conservatives like to talk about the growing scope of the federal government, while liberals like to talk about the rise in the influence industry that has accompanied it. But Snowden offers a reminder of another driver of the boom, one that I’ve long suspected was the biggest factor of all: the construction of the post-9/11 security leviathan, which has tentacles all around the country but is concentrated above all in greater Washington—not only at the headquarters of the FBI, CIA, and NSA, but in the sprawl of the contractors that have attached themselves to the region like barnacles, in hundreds of glass boxes along the Dulles Toll Road and Interstate 66 and Route 32, with naught but a cryptic acronym (SAIC, CAIC, ITT) affixed on their upper walls to hint at their identity (and sometimes not even that)….

The people working in these buildings and contractors are, by definition, a low-visibility lot, with job descriptions so inscrutable to the average American taxpayer footing the bill that they might as well be written in Sanskrit. But they make up a goodly share of the people who are crowding the Beltway’s ever-more-crowded highways in late-model cars and buying up condos and homes at rates that have made Washington the strongest real estate market in the country since 2000. But now we get to see one of their type close-up in a way that we are normally not able to. Edward Snowden is only 29 and lacks a four-year college degree, yet he has been pulling down $200,000 working for one of the biggest Beltway bandit contractors of all, Booz Allen Hamilton.

He was most recently based not in Washington, but at an NSA facility in Hawaii (tough gig!), but he is otherwise highly typical of the new class of highly-paid security-state worker bees that litter the Beltway at firms like Booz Allen, which is headquartered in Northern Virginia.

Jon Newton — myblogdammit

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Jon Newton — myblogdammit

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It’s My Blog, Dammit! content is licensed under Creative Commons, unless otherwise stated.

 Comments are the responsibility of  whoever posts them. Dammit  is not liable for them in any way, or at any time

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