Intelligence Percent of Revenue
The Analysis Corporation (TAC) specializes in providing counterterrorism analysis and watchlists to U.S. government agencies. It is best known for its connection to John O. Brennan, its former CEO, a 35-year veteran of the CIA and currently President Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser. Brennan, the first director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), retired from government in November 2005 and immediately joined TAC.
TAC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the defense and intelligence contractor, Global Strategies Group/North America. As of 2008, it employed more than 140 people who, according to company literature, support the work of intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security agencies “with heavy emphasis on counterterrorism.” Much of TAC’s business is with the NCTC itself. In fact, the NCTC is one of the company’s largest customers, and TAC provides counterterrorism (CT) support to “most of the agencies within the intelligence community,” according to a company press release. One of its biggest customers is the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which manages the NCTC.
On its website, TAC states: “TAC is at the forefront of the effort to safeguard U.S. national security interests. Since its start in 1990, TAC has provided mission critical intelligence support and technical solutions to the U.S. Government and non-governmental clients. Each and every day, TAC makes important contributions in the counterterrorism (CT) and national security realm by supporting national watchlisting activities as well as other CT requirements.” An earlier posting said that TAC “has a strong cadre of cleared intelligence analysts and specialists who have extensive experience in CT and related fields. With a demonstrated record of retaining quality CT analysts in a dynamic market, TAC consistently provides skilled analysts intimately familiar with the missions, roles, and responsibilities of the Government's multifaceted CT Community. TAC employees are integrated into intelligence, law enforcement, defense, and homeland security work units, serve in Government operations centers, and play a critical role in watchlisting efforts. …TAC staff consists of subject matter experts with extensive expertise in a wide range of disciplines. This expertise is available to assist clients in business process re-engineering, program management, strategic planning, applied technology, facilitation, and governance challenges.”
During the 1990s, TAC developed the U.S. government’s first terrorist database,“Tipoff,” on behalf of the State Department. The database was initially conceived as a tool to help U.S. consular officials and customs inspectors determine if foreigners trying to enter the United States were known or suspected terrorists. In 2003, management of the database—which received information collected by a large number of agencies including the CIA, NSA, and FBI—was transferred to the CIA’s Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) and, later, to the National Counterterrorism Center. In 2005, Tipoff was expanded and renamed the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDES, and fingerprint and facial recognition software was added to help identify suspects as they crossed U.S. borders.
TAC remains an important NCTC contractor: In 2005, it won a $2.3 million contract in a partnership with CACI International to integrate information from the Defense Intelligence Agency into the TIDES database. TIDES is now “the wellspring for watch lists distributed to airlines, law enforcement, border posts, and U.S. consulates.” With nearly half a million names in its database, TIDES is also the first intelligence database to include both foreigners and U.S. citizens, according to the Washington Post. The Post also reported that TIDES has created significant concerns about secrecy and privacy, with innocent civilians frequently mistaken for terrorist sympathizers, and some individuals remaining on the list long after their own governments have cleared them.
TAC has become a critical private sector player in the nation’s counterterrorism efforts. In the five years after 9/11, its income quintupled, from less than $5 million in 2001 to $24 million in 2006. In 2006, TAC increased its visibility in the intelligence community by creating a “senior advisory board” that included three heavy hitters from the CIA: former Director George J. Tenet, former Chief Information Officer Alan Wade, and former senior analyst John P. Young.
“We will want to tap into their expertise, they are part of the brain trust here,” Brennan told the Washington Post (Tenet, in a statement released by TAC, said he would help the company “address critical needs as government and industry work together to fight terrorism.”) According to a former contractor familiar with TAC, Brennan is one of Tenet’s closest friends and confidantes, and hired Tenet primarily as a “rainmaker” – someone who brings new business and contracts to a firm. A former CIA officer who served in the Middle East said Brennan’s close ties with Tenet go back to the early 1990s, when Brennan was the chief of station in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a country that Tenet visited frequently as director of Central Intelligence (DCI).
In March 2008, TAC was one of two State Department contractors charged with illegally accessing passport records of presidential contenders Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain. In response, TAC issued a statement on March 21: “Late this morning, representatives of the Department of State informed The Analysis Corporation (TAC) for the first time that one of the individuals who had been detected inappropriately accessing passport files of prominent political figures was a TAC employee. The individual was working on contract at the Department of State. This individual's actions were taken without the knowledge or direction of anyone at TAC and are wholly inconsistent with our professional and ethical standards. TAC has an exemplary record of supporting the Department of State and other elements of the U.S. Government for close to two decades. We are fully cooperating with the Department of State in its investigation. Specifically, we have honored the Department's request to delay taking any administrative action related to the employment of the individual in order to give the Department's Office of the Inspector General the opportunity to conduct its investigation. We deeply regret that the incident occurred and believe it is an isolated incident.” Ironically, TAC’s CEO at the time, John Brennan, was an adviser to the Obama campaign (see CNN).
In November 2007, TAC CEO John Brennan resigned from the company and from his position as chairman of the Intelligence National Security Alliance to take a position in the Obama transition team (see the company’s announcement). Brennan, who served during the presidential campaign as Obama’s chief intelligence adviser, was a top candidate for the job of CIA director, but was passed over after several national security bloggers reported that he was a key part of the CIA team that reportedly engaged in torture and enhanced interrogations of Guantanamo detainees. He remains Obama’s primary adviser on intelligence issues. For more, see Washington Post, “Obama's Battle Against Terrorism To Go Beyond Bombs and Bullets”.
Primary sourcing for this profile came from Tim Shorrock, ''Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing'' (Simon & Schuster/2008) and from DIA and company press releases.