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The Dangers of Corporations Controlling National Secrets

June 14, 2013 in Blogs

By Thom Hartmann, AlterNet

The privatized national security apparatus isn’t just wasteful—it’s contrary to the founding principles of our democratic republic.


It's time to completely end the privatization of national security.

Business Week recently pointed out that 99 percent of Booze Allen Hamilton's revenues come from government contracts. 

Why would we pay a CEO millions, stockholders tens of millions, and workers a small fortune when the same work could and should be done by civil servants?

Even worse, our privatized national security apparatus isn’t just wasteful; it’s contrary to the founding principles of our democratic republic.

Governments can be made accountable, transparent, and responsive to “We the People.”  In fact, that's the core idea of our Constitution.

On the other hand corporations, by and large, are accountable only to profits.They’re opaque, and don't give a damn about “We the People,” except for the people who run them.

There once was a time, before Reagan put us on a privatization binge, when our national security was run by our government and answerable to “We the People.”

However, ever since the Reagan Revolution, our political class has been obsessed with the idea that since government can’t do anything right, private companies should take  over most of our commons, even, in this case, the commons of our national security.

And that’s created an entire industry of companies like Booz Allen Hamilton, where NSA leaker Edward Snowden worked, reaping millions in profits every year to manage and lobby for an ever-expanding and ever-more-profitable national security industry.

Privatization enthusiasts praise contractors as efficient and responsible purveyors of public service, but corporations, by virtue of being corporations, are incompatible with the functions of representative government.

At its core, a republic requires accountability.

We entrust to our public officials the power to act in our interest.

If they violate that trust, we expect them to either face punishment or resign from their duties.

After all, they serve us, not stockholders or CEOs.

And accountability in a democratic republican society, in turn, requires transparency.

How can the public judge the crimes of its representatives without knowing about them?

As the Roman poet Juneval famously wrote about 2000 years ago, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”—Who will watch …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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