Yesterday Spencer Ackerman paraphrased what he called the intelligence community's "awesomely bad" pushback against Dana Priest and William Arkin's first story on the national-security industrial complex, which was basically to cite a government regulation preventing contractors from performing “inherently governmental” activities:
See? We’re not hiring corporations to make the government run! We have a regulation that tells us so! In reality, the “inherently governmental” question is a complicated one. If gathering information is “inherently governmental” and so is analyzing it, what about writing the algorithms and layers of logic that mine collected information for patterns that allow analysts to reach intelligence conclusions.
Of course we didn't know just how "awesomely bad" that pushback was until this morning, when the second installment was published:
To ensure that the country's most sensitive duties are carried out only by people loyal above all to the nation's interest, federal rules say contractors may not perform what are called "inherently government functions." But they do, all the time and in every intelligence and counterterrorism agency, according to a two-year investigation by The Washington Post.
Wonder what they'll say today?