May 26, 2008
A Cunning and Conniving Adversary
Arlington County, Virginia, is home to a large number of government agencies and private companies involved in fighting the “the global war on terror” or “global struggle against violent extremism,” or whatever propaganda catchphrase politicos in Washington are using today to describe the U.S. government’s campaign to prop up its crumbling world empire. The Pentagon complex is the most notorious member of this group. Aside from the Pentagon, the Defense Department has many divisions housed in other office buildings scattered across Arlington, as do the CIA and other federal police and intelligence agencies.
The government outsourcing trend has gained momentum during the past 30 years, and Arlington has served as a popular location for many of these Beltway Bandits to set up shop, given its proximity to Washington. Many of these companies specialize in military and intelligence contracts. One of the best known Arlington-based contractors is CACI International, a company that has performed a variety of contract work for the U.S. military in Iraq, including providing intelligence analysis, background investigations, screenings and interrogation.
In his new book Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing, Tim Shorrock takes a close look at CACI and how the company was brought into Iraq by the U.S. military to help with interrogations at the Abu Ghraib prison. Shorrock notes in the book that CACI challenged the idea that its growth over the past five years came solely from its business in Iraq. The company said its Abu Ghraib contracts were less than one percent of total worldwide revenue, according to Shorrock.
Shorrock profiles CACI’s leader, Jack London, who since news of the scandal broke, “has treated Abu Ghraib as a public relations problem.” Over the past four years, CACI has sued or threatened to sue more than a dozen journalists because of their coverage of the Abu Ghraib scandal, according to Shorrock.
London, who relinquished his CEO title in 2007 but stayed on as chairman of the company’s board, embraces a political philosophy that
In the book, Shorrock shares a quote by London from 2006:
Shorrock says that London in 2002 came up with a “simpler way” to define the asymmetric warfare practiced by Palestinians and other Arab groups in their resistance to the United States and Israel: “Not fighting fair.” According to Shorrock, London said that “asymmetric warfare means facing a cunning and conniving adversary of inferior strength, who finds ways to exploit vulnerabilities to radical extreme, and frequently with frightening psychological effect.”
Arlington County is well known in Virginia for its liberal political tradition. Currently, all of the elected positions in the county are filled by Democrats.
In 2007, it was the all-Democratic Arlington County Board that honored London
It probably surprised some county residents that its elected officials would honor the leader of a company whose financial well being is closely tied to the nation’s perpetual state of warfare.