Saturday, September 21, 2013

How are Aaron Alexis, Edward Snowden and the Carlyle Group all Connected?

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog testified Thursday there may have been problems with a security clearance background check conducted on the 29-year-old federal contractor who disclosed previously secret National Security Agency programs for collecting phone records and Internet data — just as news media disclosed more information about those programs. 
Appearing at a Senate hearing, Patrick McFarland, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's inspector general, said USIS, the company that conducted the background investigation of former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden, is now under investigation itself. McFarland declined to say what triggered the inquiry of USIS or whether the probe is related to Snowden. But when asked by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., if there were any concerns about the USIS background check on Snowden, McFarland answered: "Yes, we do believe that there may be some problems."
... Bloomberg News isn’t alone in asking who vetted Alexis, who on Monday killed 12 people and had a history of arrests, apparent mental illness and military misconduct. He was killed by police following his shooting rampage.
Washington Post:
The company, which is under criminal investigation over whether it misled the government about the thoroughness of its background checks, said earlier this week that it had not handled Alexis’s case. 

Anyhow, it isn't hard to read between the lines here. It appears that what we are looking at is a thinly veiled intelligence operation designed to furnish security clearances to assets who wouldn't be able to obtain them under regular circumstances. Those clearances are a necessary part of gaining them access to a covert installation for later use, whether that use is starring in the latest choreographed news event as a heroic leaker or a villainous "lone nut."

This firm is ten minutes from CIA headquarters - look it up. Its vice president of security and counterintelligence is a veteran of the CIA and the NSA. Its president and chief executive was formerly the chief executive at a company that provides "intelligence, systems engineering and security services" to government agencies "that included the U.S. intelligence community, the Department of Defense and NASA."

All of this can be found on the company's website. You only have to look a bit further and it all becomes much more interesting:

From the Bloomberg article, we read:

The Carlyle Group LP, a Washington-based private equity firm, and New York-based Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe LP invested in USIS. They agreed in 2007 to sell USIS to Providence, Rhode Island-based Providence Equity Partners for about $1.5 billion.

This is confirmed on their website. They invested in it in 2000 (perhaps realizing that background checking would be a little more popular in the coming years) and sold it in 2007.  For anyone who has forgotten the name of the Carlyle Group, here's a refresher.

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