In a political maneuver that’s hard not to admire, Democrats are trying to pivot the NSA scandal into an attack on privatization and government contractors. Senator Dick Durbin is promising a review of “all civilian contractors” in a move that will no doubt please the Democrats’ friends in Big Labor given that government employees are the last bastion of organized labor in the country.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel pledged a full review of all civilian contractors on Tuesday, putting emphasis on determining the exact number of expensive private contractors employed by the Department of Defense.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) asked Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey about Edward Snowden, a former employee of Booz Allen Hamilton and the suspected leaker of countless classified NSA documents at a Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee meeting.
Durbin used Snowden’s actions to highlight the Department of Defense’s inordinate spending on civilian contractors, saying that civilian contractors are paid three times more than their DOD counterparts.
Hagel pledged a full review of all civilian contractors, putting emphasis on determining the exact numbers of contractors the DOD employs due to the increasing pressure on the department from extended budget cuts.
You’ve got to ask yourself, is the problem that the NSA had a private contractor who leaked information about controversial domestic spying programs to the public? Or is it that the NSA has been conducting those controversial spying programs in the first place?
It may be politically astute for Democrats to shift the controversy over the NSA’s programs into a push to expand the federal bureaucracy, but the problem isn’t private contractors vs. government employees (Bradley Manning, after all, was essentially a federal employee).
The problem is the things our government is doing to spy on us, and infringe upon our privacy.