US spy services hiding true employee numbers, says Senate panel

Dennis Blair

Dennis Blair

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has voiced disapproval of the high numbers of contractors employed by America’s intelligence organizations, and has censured US intelligence agencies for hiding their actual personnel numbers. The criticism follows a Congressional testimony last week by Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dennis Blair, who claimed that the intelligence community has come up with its own definition of inherently governmental. The term refers to government jobs that are too sensitive to be outsourced. In his presentation, Blair revealed that private contractors now constitute 25% of the entire US intelligence force in all 16 agencies of the US intelligence community, but he said this share shrunk by 3 % last year, as the intelligence agencies revised their definition of jobs that cannot be outsourced. But the Senate panel was not impressed and recommended that the overall drop in intelligence contractor numbers –which does not reflect the fact that outsourced job numbers are actually growing in some agencies– should be reduced by no less than 5% this year. The Committee also revealed that some spy agencies under the DNI’s supervision “have not been reporting their true numbers of employees”. Specifically, in its FY2010 fiscal intelligence authorization report, the Committee wrote that “practices within different elements of the Intelligence Community on the counting of personnel with respect to legislatively-fixed ceilings were inconsistent, and included not counting certain personnel at all against personnel ceilings”. Responding to the revelation, veteran security correspondent Jeff Stein said that US intelligence agencies should be expected to hide true personnel governments from adversary nations, but not from their own government.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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