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Valerie Plame & Joe Wilson: This Has Nothing To Do With Snowden, The Intelligence-Industrial Complex Is Out Of Control

Published: July 1, 2013
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Source: TechDirt

Husband and wife Valerie Plame Wilson and Joe Wilson are well-known for an earlier "leaking" of "intelligence" information that resulted in Plame being outed as a covert CIA officer. The two have now written a powerful op-ed for the Guardian pointing out that the "intelligence-industrial complex" is completely out of control and very ripe for abuse:
We are now dealing with a vast intelligence-industrial complex that is largely unaccountable to its citizens. This alarming, unchecked growth of the intelligence sector and the increasingly heavy reliance on subcontractors to carry out core intelligence tasks – now estimated to account for approximately 60% of the intelligence budget – have intensified since the 9/11 attacks and what was, arguably, our regrettable over-reaction to them.
They point out that the size of the operation, the reliance on private companies and contractors more focused on profits than what's best for the country, combined with the massive amount of secrecy all needs to change:
On this spying business, officials from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to self-important senators are, in effect, telling Americans not to worry: it's not that big a deal, and "trust us" because they're keeping US citizens safe. This position must be turned on its head and opened up to a genuine discussion about the necessary, dynamic tension between security and privacy. As it now stands, these programs are ripe for abuse unless we establish ground rules and barriers between authentic national security interests and potential political chicanery.
Separately, they point out that the focus on Ed Snowden is nothing more than a "sideshow" which distracts from the real issue: which is just how insanely out of control the intelligence infrastructure of the country has become.

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