Tuesday, November 9, 2010

National Security Inc

Let me preface that I am not entirely sure if it is my week (Group A) to present or not; so I am doing a little of both…

Of the articles this week, the one which most intrigued me was “National Security Inc” from the Washington Post. The article sheds light on how the government spends its budget hiring private contractors to assist in the “war on terror”. These companies specialize in everything from hit men to data analysts to weapon manufacturers to technology firms – anything and everything in between. According to the article, there are over 265,000 contractors with top secret information.

So how do secret government contracts relate to libraries?

Well, I suppose it could be obviously stated that libraries will never see any of this money because A) we are government institutions whose funds are paid primarily through taxes and B) librarians don’t do well with “top secret” information for we believe in a little thing called Freedom of Information – and this may be slightly obstructive towards the goals of Homeland Security.

The sad thing is that Billions of taxpayer dollars are going straight into the pockets of corporations when the money arguably should be spent on things closer to home. According to the article, the average salary of one corporate employee with top secret government information is $50,000. Think of what a library or school or even a district could do with that money?

The thing that amazed me about this article was the complexity and speed which the system of secret information was constructed. It almost seems hap hazard - as if it was planned in a single night. This scares me for this multi-mega-corporation approved by the Bush Administration is something we will be dealing with for a very long time…

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