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Who Controls the CIA? The Dangers of Outsourcing

November 1, 2007 |  5:00:00  |  LBJ Library Brown Room, 10th Floor

Author R.J. Hillhouse discussed the increasing role that private corporations are playing in the operations of the CIA and the related implications for the US government and national security. The vast amount of outsourcing of intelligence work by the CIA, Hillhouse argued, has created a talent drain within the CIA and left the Agency unable to perform core intelligence functions. Furthermore, as the CIA and other government agencies become more dependent on private contractors, these corporations may exert undue influence on national security policy and operations. Hillhouse addressed concerns about private security firms working for the State Department in Iraq”such as Blackwater, Dyncorp, and Triple Canopy”asserting that these firms may be used as liability shields for the government and speculating that private contractors may be taking on more offensive operations for the CIA’s covert war in Iraq than previously realized.

Dr. Hillhouse has run Cuban rum, smuggled jewels and slipped through some of the world’s tightest security. Foreign governments attempted to recruit her as a spy. (They failed.) A former professor and Fulbright fellow, Hillhouse earned her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Michigan and is an expert in international affairs. Her work has been featured in the Washington Post and New York Times, and she writes the leading blog on the outsourcing of national security: The Spy Who Billed Me. Her controversial articles have twice triggered responses from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. She also is author of two critically acclaimed spy thrillers, including the recent Outsourced, which inspired Forbes to praise her as “the Tom Clancy of the corporate military and intelligence age.”

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