US: Fort Huachuca intelligence center draws private contractors

Publisher Name: 
Phoenix Business Journal

An increasing amount of U.S. intelligence work -- including training
related to aggressive interrogation methods -- is being parceled out
to defense firms making Arizona's Fort Huachuca a major contracting
hub.





The base, which sits near the Mexican border about 190 miles southeast
of Phoenix, is home to the U.S. Army's Military Intelligence
Center.





Large contractors such as General Dynamics, which has an information
technology division in Scottsdale; Lockheed Martin, L-3
Communications, which has operations in Mesa; CACI International; and
ManTech International all conduct work at Fort Huachuca and have
offices in Sierra Vista adjacent to the base. The companies posted a
combined $79 billion in revenue in 2006.





There also are smaller companies -- including AllSource Global
Management, Integrated Systems Improvement Services, both based in
Sierra Vista, and Phoenix-based Castillo Technologies, that do work
intelligence work at the base.





Privatized intelligence work is an increasingly big business, said
Pratap Chatterjee, program director for CorpWatch, a California-based
watchdog group.





Chatterjee estimates that as much as 50 percent to 70 percent of U.S.
intelligence work, training and technology is handled by private firms
making it a $20 billion to $40 billion sector.





But it also is a controversial business.





Huachuca is one of the primary training centers for interrogation
techniques, data collection and covert operations. Intelligence
personnel trained at the Arizona base are stationed in Iraq,
Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.





Amnesty International and other human rights groups criticize U.S.
policies related to prisoner interrogations and question whether
certain techniques and how they are taught at Huachucha amount to or
lead to torture.





Jumana Musa, advocacy director for Amnesty International USA, said
interrogation techniques taught at Huachuca may include water
boarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions, phobia exploitation and
sexual humiliation of suspects.





Musa said Amnesty also is concerned about the oversight and training
of private contractors that do intelligence work at the Arizona
base.





The U.S. Army and Bush administration deny the torture claims.





Fort Huachuca spokeswoman Tanja Linton, said contractors perform a
wide variety of services at the base, including in the intelligence
arena.





Linton said intelligence personnel are taught straight from Army field
manuals and abide by applicable U.S. laws including those passed after
Abu Gharib. She said training is "transparent" and is made
open to the media and elected officials.





"Human intelligence being conducted in theaters of operation
under this lawful policy is critical to saving American, coalition,
and innocent lives and to enabling success in our military mission,"
she said.





Some of the military intelligence firms contacted for this story did
not respond to or declined request for comment.





Integrated Systems Improvement Services and AllSource list jobs
available on their Web sites for military intelligence instructors,
counterintelligence agents and instructors, intelligence analysts,
technicians and linguists and intelligence collection trainers. The
jobs often require top secret security clearance and military
experience.





Others said their intelligence work at Huachuca is not directly
related to interrogations, but that they provide technical and support
services for intelligence training.





CACI International Vice President Jody Brown confirmed her company
provides services to military and national intelligence agencies, but
would not elaborate.





"We don't discuss classified work with the media. It is illegal,"
Brown said. CACI did provide interrogation services in Iraq up until
2005, and some of its workers were at Abu Gharib. The company said no
CACI workers were indicted for prison abuse, and Brown said CACI no
longer provides interrogation services.


ManTech spokesman Mark Root said intelligence makes up a large
percentage of work that the Virginia company does for the Pentagon.
Root said Mantech offers telecommunications support at "Ft. H."
and does not teach interrogation techniques.





ManTech also has family ties to Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi, whose
father is a retired Army general and executive with the company.





Lockheed spokesman Keith Mordoff said employees provide technical
support for Army intelligence at Huachuca.





"They are not involved in interrogation work," said Mordoff,
who declined to say how many employees Lockheed has at the base.





General Dynamics spokeswoman Jennifer Montesano referred questions
about intelligence contracts to the Army base.





Two Roman Catholic priests (Steve Kelly and Louis Vitale) were
sentenced to five months each in federal prison last month for
trespassing on the base last year. The pair were delivering a protest
letter to commanders about the possibility of torture techniques being
taught there.





Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast is an intelligence commander at Huachuca and
was a top Army intelligence officer in Iraq during Abu Gharib.





Some intelligence personnel trained at Huachuca were involved in
abusive interrogation techniques at Iraq's Abu Gharib prison,
according to a U.S. Army investigation.

AMP Section Name:War & Disaster Profiteering
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  • 23 Private Security
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