Jacqueline Newmyer, one of Chelsea Clinton’s “best friends,” is the president of a company that has received in excess of $11 million in contracts over the last ten years from a secretive Department of Defense think tank. However, the company called the Long Term Strategy Group lacks federal authorization to handle classified materials for the Office of Net Assessment of the Defense Department. Long-term relationships such as this, between business interests and national security agencies, have been linked to huge over-expenditures by the federal government, and even significant intelligence failures.

The Office of Net Assessment is a think tank that is so highly classified and so tightly controlled that it is housed in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and reports directly to Secretary James Mattis. Newmyer’s Long Term Strategy Group has so far received $11.2 million in contracts, according to USAspending.gov, a database of federal contracts.

After getting a decade’s worth of contracts from the Office of Net Assessment, the Long Term Strategy Group is just now undergoing clearance for classified materials. According to The Daily Caller, the Long Term Strategy Group never operated a secure room on its premises to handle classified materials, according to the Defense Security Service. Long Term Strategy Group operates offices in Washington, D.C. and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Newmyer declined to speak to The Daily Caller about the company’s lack of classified materials handling facilities, nor would she say whether it is the government that is paying for a new secure facility. 

The revolving door

A veteran of the Office of Net Assessment (ONA), Adam Lovinger, has warned in the past that the federal government is incurring risks by relying on contractors. He also warned against cronyism and the “revolving door” phenomenon wherein ONA employees leave federal service for employment by private contractors that in turn benefit from doing business with the agency they left behind. 

In the documentary film, “A Good American,” former National Security Agency official William Binney recounted that there were close relations between the NSA and the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a powerful defense contractor based in Washington D.C. Binney and his collaborators originated Thin Thread, an alternative intelligence analysis system that was eventually shelved by Trailblazer, which was favored by NSA directors. Binney has asserted that if Thin Thread had been used in advance of 9/11 instead of Trailblazer, the attack might have been prevented. The documentary contends that the ThinThread system would have prevented the Sept. 11 attacks, and that a post-attack evaluation confirmed this.

 In a 2012 interview on Democracy Now!, show hosts spoke to Binney about his tenure at NSA and his subsequent interactions with the intelligence agency:  

JUAN GONZALEZ: And Trailblazer was largely developed by SAIC, the—

WILLIAM BINNEY: Well, they were contributing contractors, yeah. But they—I think they had the lead—they were the lead contractors in some of contracts, yeah.

On the same show, in an interview with host Amy Goodman, Binney reiterated that personnel shifted from SAIC and NSA:

AMY GOODMAN: And heads of the agency, National Security Agency, would go back and forth working at NSA, working at SAIC.

WILLIAM BINNEY: It was—we called it an incestuous relationship, yeah.

Binney quit the NSA after 9/11 in disgust. In September 2002, Binney joined J. Kirk Wiebe and Edward Loomis to ask the Inspector General of the Defense Department to investigate the NSA for allegedly wasting “millions of dollars" on Trailblazer. He also criticized the post-9/11 NSA for spying on American citizens with a system that is “better than anything that the KGB, the Stasi, or the Gestapo and SS ever had. Binney has contended that ThinThread was not only less intrusive into Americans’ private information and conversations, it could also have saved the government millions of dollars. 

ThinThread vs. TrailBlazer

In apparent retaliation, Binney and his colleagues were arrested by armed federal agents in 2007 and their security clearances revoked. Despite having had several previous interviews with the FBI that year, a dozen agents made an early morning raid on Binney’s home and pointed guns at Binney, who was showering at the time. The FBI confiscated a computer and disks, as well as personal and business records. The FBI also raided the homes of Binney’s collaborators  Wiebe and Loomis, as well as House Intelligence Committee staffer Diane Roark, on the same morning. Later that year, the FBI raided the home of NSA executive Thomas Andrews Drake, who had contacted the Inspector General of the Defense Department about his concerns. When DoD Assistant Inspector General, John Crane, who was in charge of the DoD Whistleblower Program, suspected his superiors had provided confidential information to the Justice Department, he himself became a whistleblower after being forced from his position. In 2012, Binney and co-plaintiffs went to federal court to retrieve the confiscated items.

In various interviews, Binney has repeated his estimates that the NSA had intercepted 20 trillion communications - Americans' "transactions" - including telephone calls, emails, and other forms of data. Binney claimed in an affidavit for the Jewel v. NSA case that the NSA was "purposefully violating the Constitution." The NSA, Binney contends, has been pursued a policy of sweeping up as much data as it can rather than engaging in specifically targeted collection even before the 9/11 attacks. According to a 2014 Der Spiegel article, Binney believes that the NSA wants information about everything. In Binney's view, the NSA’s goal is to control people. Saying that it is possible to survey the whole population abroad and in the US, Binney said that the practice violates the  Constitution.

In A Good American, Binney said that he told his attorney that he would never commit suicide. "I need you to know that I would never deliberately commit suicide." This was to warn the attorney, apparently, that a sudden death on his part could be suspicious. 

The close relations between private contractors and the ONA -- which is part of the US intelligence network as is NSA -- has come up for criticism in the past. For example, USA Today noted in August 2013 that the same set of contractors never seem to leave ONA: “While Democratic and Republican administrations come and go, ONA and its team of outside advisers remains the same. Contract records show the office relies on studies from outside contractors.” As was the case with Binney and colelagues at NSa, ONA has also had its share of whistleblowers.

Adam Lovinger served 12 years at ONA, and was detailed to work at the White House National Security Council office in January. Lovinger told the Washington Free Beacon that accusations by anti-Trump staffers led to the loss of his security clearance on May 1. Critics of Lovinger’s firing say that he was targeted in part because of his ties to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his views about Islamist terrorism. 

Holdovers and best-friends

Lovinger sent a series of memos to ONA Director James H. Baker, in which he advised that ONA had inherited from its previous director (who had served in the position for 42 years) the practice of providing “sweet-heart contracts’ to a privileged few.” According to Lovinger’s attorney, Sean Bigley, Baker took umbrage at the emails and allegedly set out to retaliate.

Lovinger's case, according to a report by The Daily Caller, may be part of a turf battle with and whether the office should remain at the Pentagon or have an office at the White House. While the ONA was housed originally at the White House ever since the Nixon administration, it was later taken to the Pentagon. Critics of ONA and Baker -- a holdover from the Obama administration -- have rapped the agency for its alleged failure to produce reports on threats from enemies such as Muslim terrorist organizations, China, and Iran. Instead, the critics have noted that ONA has taken recourse to private contractors such as Long Term Strategy Group, which is headed by Chelsea Clinton’s friend, Jacqueline Newmyer. 

Clinton and Newmyer met as students at Sidwell Friends School, an exclusive private school in the Washington D.C. Clinton has referred to Newmyer as her “best friend.” The friendship proved to be profitable for Newmyer. When Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, the top diplomat and future presidential candidate promoted Newmyer and provided assistance in obtaining DoD contracts. For example, Secretary Clinton provided Newmyer with a contact to Michèle Flournoy, was then the undersecretary of defense in the Obama administration. In an email obtained by the watchdog group Judicial Watch, Hillary Clinton sent an email to Newmyer in July 2009, asking: “By the way, did the DOD contract work out?”

Former ONA military adviser Phillip Pournelle works at Long Term Strategy Group as its “director for gaming and analysis,” according to LinkedIn. ONA consultant Steve Rosen was once Newmyer’s professor at Harvard. They are now officers of the American Academy for Strategic Education, a nonprofit that they co-founded. which is “dedicated to educating a rising generation of strategic thinkers,” according to its websit
 



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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