Booz Allen Hamilton, the defense contracting giant whose employee was charged Wednesday in connection with the theft of hacking codes used by the National Security Agency, provides a fairly ironic service to the government: spotting rogue employees.
The highly secretive contractor in 2014 launched a special service called Insider4Sight designed to help the government spot “insider threats,” such as employees who steal confidential documents. “Insider4Sight behavior-based assessment tools are applied against expected role models to detect rogue insiders before significant damage occurs,” a company brochure boasts.
Booz Allen Hamilton’s marketing asks: “How do we detect insider threats before rogue employees can do significant damage?”
Booz Allen Hamilton employee Harold Martin III, a contractor for the NSA, was charged today with illegally copying and taking home highly confidential code used for infiltrating the computers of foreign governments.
The incident is sure to refocus attention on the $5.4 billion company, which also employed Edward Snowden, another NSA private contractor who stole documents from the agency. Snowden acted in order to reveal vast government surveillance programs, some of which have been subsequently deemed by federal courts as unconstitutional. Martin’s motives are not clear.
Horacio Rozanski, Booz Allen Hamilton’s chief executive, highlighted the importance of its insider threat detection software on the company’s investor call in July 2015. Discussing the firm’s success in securing a three-year $39 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security, Rozanski said that the firm’s “Predictive Intelligence” platform, which includes assessing insider threats, “was a major differentiator in winning this work.”
In an interview with CNBC, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin commented briefly on the arrest of Martin, noting that the Department of Justice is concerned about the risk posed by insider threats. “We also need to take into account, whether it’s economic espionage or traditional espionage, the focus on those who are trusted within our companies, within our government who can exploit that trust to cause enormous harm,” Carlin said.
Booz Allen Hamilton, which declined to comment to The Intercept, provided a statement to the press noting that it is a “102-year-old company, and the alleged conduct does not reflect our core values. Thousands of our employees support critical client missions with dedication and excellence each day. Their professionalism, values and ethics are what define our firm.”
As Bloomberg has noted, Booz Allen Hamilton’s ability to continually win major government contracts appears “ensured by the roster of intelligence community heavyweights” on its payroll. The firm not only retains the services of lobbyists, but also employs a number of high level intelligence officials, including former NSA director Mike McConnell. James Clapper, the current director of National Intelligence, is a former Booz Allen Hamilton executive.