Booz Allen on hot seat after Edward Snowden leaks

It's in damage-control mode over its employee who started the huge fracas about government security and citizen privacy.

By Jonathan Berr Jun 10, 2013 12:13PM
Photo of a Booz Allen Hamilton sign hanging at a volunteer event (© Booz Allen Hamilton via Facebook)Shares of Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) traded down Monday morning after one of its employees admitted to being the source of the leak about top-secret government programs that monitor the communications of millions of Americans and foreigners.

The giant consultant -- and the ninth-largest government contractor, with $3.84 billion in 2012 contracts -- is no doubt hunkered down with a phalanx of crisis communications experts to figure out its next move. It's already trying to distance itself from 29-year-old Edward Snowden. Booz Allen called his decision to out himself as the source of the leaks to The Guardian and The Washington Post "shocking" and a "a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm."

Among the issues government investigators and Booz Allen will need to figure out is whether Snowden acted alone and how he was able to pull off one of the biggest leaks in history even though he worked as a contractor for only three months. They'll also need to determine if any warning signs were overlooked. For now, it appears as if Snowden was a lone rogue employee.

Snowden has fled to Hong Kong and was apparently holed up in a swanky hotel suite there, but news reports Monday said he checked out. It remains unclear how long he can afford to remain on the lam. CNN is reporting that he's "in danger of running out of money." According to media reports, Snowden was fully aware of the consequences of his actions, telling the Post at one point, "there is no saving me." U.S. intelligence officials are no doubt worried that the Chinese will get valuable intelligence from Snowden.

The analyst certainly doesn't appear to be motivated by financial self-interest in divulging information on the government's monitoring of wireless, email and other communications. Daniel Ellsberg, who gained fame a generation ago for leaking "The Pentagon Papers" to the press, has called Snowden a hero, arguing that he has done a "incalculable service." Many people would agree.

Samuel Johnson noted more than 200 years ago that "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." Government officials, of course, have claimed that Snowden's leaks have damaged national security, although they're vague on the specifics, which should make people even more suspicious.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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Jun 10, 2013 1:50PM
at least somebody has the balls to come out and tell us what our government is doing to us
Jun 10, 2013 5:23PM
I'd tell you what  I think, but big brother is watching.
Jun 11, 2013 11:31AM

The Gov'ment is spending billions of OUR taxpayer's dollars to spy on us...isn't that something...while I have to dodge potholes in the pavement on my way to work...I mean how much crap can the American people take...

Jun 10, 2013 11:01PM
He's a HERO.  They're just mad cause they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Bunch of lying hypocrites.
Jun 11, 2013 4:20PM

"a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm."

Really?  What about a grave violation of our constitutional rights?  Boehner was on GMA this morning calling this guy a traitor.  In my eyes, he's a patriot and the politicians are the traitors who should go to jail. 


This country is run by low integrity, angry bullies.

Jun 10, 2013 4:33PM
What a stupid last sentence... "they're vague on the specifics, which should make people even more suspicious". Uh, no. Maybe they're vague on the specifics so as to limit the limelight on even *more* secret information?
Jun 11, 2013 12:58AM

He's been brain washed by his upbringing as a Christianist and therefore with his illogical reasoning and delusional judgment with occasional bout of epileptic seizure can lead to mental anguish especially the lack of virtues to where he is now - a fugitive and treasonous villain. Furthermore, his support for Paul Ryan that gives him the edge, in his own mind, to deflect from his most highly classified work assignment to his paucity of (misguided) understanding and perception that caused him to stupidly create a sense of confused state of mind even though he stated he knows what he is doing which is baloney. He must have shown a symptom of being a narcissist and an opportunistic chump without thinking of his dire consequences. Moreover, his education alone with limited schooling that he cannot achieve this level of sophistication and cleverness from his work place will absolutely lead him to his doom.

Jun 10, 2013 12:49PM
Well, this is what we get from out-sourcing jobs that DoD or any other agancy within this government can do..  Since this individual has only worked for 3 months, it appears he sought this job only to find out what is going inside NSA.  Now he's in China, well isn't that convenient?  Perhaps he got also paid by China....just thinking???????  Didn't China hack our into computers???? 
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