On Monday it’s expected that the Washington Post will debut a series by Dana Priest on military contractors, with an emphasis on intelligence contracting. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has been concerned for some time about this series, issuing at least one internal memo about it according to Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic.

Emptywheel notes the degree of panic with which the ODNI is preemptively responding, unwarranted since we’ve already known for years about the nature and magnitude of growth in intelligence contracting, let alone military contracting as a whole.

But note, too, that the military itself has had ample time and opportunity to deal with the issue of scale. Recall that last November the House Oversight Committee requested a head count of contractors and subcontractors from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, giving him 30 days to provide the numbers.

It does not appear that this information has yet been furnished, nearly eight months later. If it has, it’s not been widely reported. And we already knew that there were extremely large variances between contractor numbers reported by different groups.

The situation makes for a lot of interesting questions:

  • Why is ODNI squirming about revelations from WaPo’s Priest, but not the Pentagon?
  • Why aren’t the contractor/subcontractor numbers being disseminated widely?
  • How many of the intelligence contractors aren’t actually contracted by CIA but by DIA?
  • Just how many of these intelligence contractors are not only working in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in places the American public at large doesn’t think of as threats – like Central and South America?
  • And how many of them are in Pakistan — intel or military — in which local sources report a very large complex rivaling the U.S. embassy in Baghdad is being built and guarded by private security contractors?

Assuming the first article is published tomorrow, it’s going to be a manic Monday for some folks in Washington.

Or perhaps a little farther south, particularly since the American taxpayers are footing the bill for economic development there the likes of which the rest of the country envies and will go without.

[photo: jovike via Flickr]