If you haven't previously heard of Booz Allen Hamilton, the employer of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, it's not for its lack of ties with Washington, DC. Some 98% of the company's revenue in the past fiscal year came from its government contracts, and 23% of that—or $1.3 billion—came from intelligence work, including for the NSA, the New York Times reports. It's not just contracts that link the private firm to Washington: President Obama's top intelligence official, James Clapper, used to be a Booz Allen executive, and the man who held Clapper's job in the Bush administration works there now.
Close to half of Booz Allen's 25,000 workers have top secret security clearance: They have "access to information that would cause 'exceptionally grave damage' to national security if disclosed to the public," in the company's words. The Washington Post figures a leak was bound to happen thanks to the speedy post-9/11 outsourcing of intelligence jobs; a 2010 analysis by the paper found 1,931 private companies engaged in national security-related work. And the system in place for quietly reporting concerns is less clear to contractors than to government workers, a former NSA official tells the Times. (Does Booz Allen sound like the place for you? Here's your chance to join its ranks: It looks like Snowden's job is up for grabs, the Atlantic Wire notes. The site has the full job posting.)