Rob: And there was talk about how the employees at NSA would get paid-- that the money tree would come to them. How would the money tree come to them if they were working as government employees.
Bill: It would work pretty much like this. If they retired or quit NSA they could go to the contractors and work for the contractors at a higher salary, then come back to NSA to all the people they knew and influence them to get contracts.
Rob: Would you say this was a very common occurrence?
Bill: Yes. It was quite common. All you have to do is look at the people who are the higher level people and look at they retire from NSA or CIA or other agencies of government and look at where they go for jobs and who they contract and you can see the influence there.
Rob: So let me just recapitulate this. So, what happens is,a company goes to NSA and says "we have a project we'd like to sell you." Someone from NSA says, "Okay, write up the request for the proposal. I'll put it in and then you can write up the response to the proposal.
Bill: Yeah, and "tell me how much it's going to cost," and that comes from the corporation.
Rob: "and how much am I going to get out of it?"
Bill: Well you get the promise of employment and a higher salary when you retire from government. Or if you quit early you can come over and work for the corporation.
Rob: Do they get signing bonuses as well.
Rob: So they could get a signing bonus that's enough to pay for a house, right?
Bill: Some of them do. I'm sure. Some of them get multi-million dollar contracts per year. They'd have to be fairly senior and have lots of contacts to get that kind of money though.
Rob: Well they're the ones who would make these sweet deals. It sounds like it's an incredibly corrupt, broken institution.
Bill: In many ways, that's absolutely true.
Hear more in the interview, which picks up at the 44:00 minute mark. We discussed how the call tracking and recording program he worked on cost under $15 million, but that contractors were brought in to create programs that cost billions of dollars, which did less.
Rob:" It seems that this reciprocity thing, where people bring in projects with the expectation that they're going to get hired and get bonuses-- Is there any system at NSA to prevent abuse of that?