America's Outsourced Spy Force, by the Numbers

Edward Snowden wasn't your traditional spy. He was, however, a very modern one, a guy who worked from a computer terminal in an office, similar to how a modern bomber pilot might control his drone. The weekend's big revelations about the NSA's biggest revealer prompt a natural question: How many Snowden-type spies with top secret security clearance are there?

There's another way in which Snowden was a modern spy. He didn't work for the government, but for a government contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden's emergence has drawn a great deal of attention to the company, about which it is almost certainly not excited. Both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have stories detailing the growth of contractor dependency in the federal government, looking at Booz in particular. As does our sister publication National Journal, which quotes former NSA head Michael Hayden: "There isn't a phone or computer at [NSA headquarters] that the government owns."

Read more on The Atlantic Wire

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