John J. Hamre
Since leaving his post as deputy secretary of defense, Hamre has become a
professional board member with a knack for picking controversial and compromised
companies. He sits on the boards of ITT Industries, Inc., ChoicePoint, Science
Applications International Corp. (SAIC) and the MITRE Corporation – the last thre
exposed for degrees of inepitude, fraud or graft that compromise American security.
Hamre spent his early career working on defense budgets at the Congressional Budget Office and the Senate Armed Services Committee. In 1997, he was promoted to U.S. deputy secretary of defense. He left government in 2000 to join the Center for Strategic & International Studies. CSIS is a strong supporter of the Saudi government.
SAIC, which Hamre joined in 2005, was hired by the FBI in June 2001 to create a computer network for the agency. After five years and $170 million the FBI discovered that SAIC’s system was riddled with failures. According to the Washington Post, “the system delivered by SAIC was so incomplete and unusable that it left the FBI with little choice but to scuttle the effort altogether.” Today, agents still rely on the same paper system used since the 1930s. But the FBI debacle hasn’t hurt the company or Hamre’s finances: SAIC came in 5th on Washington Technology’s list of top defense contractors, with $4.3 billion dollars from federal contracts in 2007.
Since 2002, Hamre has been a director of ChoicePoint, where he chairs the company’s privacy committee. In 2005, ChoicePoint mistakenly sold the personal financial records, military records, and social security numbers of more than 163,000 consumers to inadequately vetted fake businesses. The mistake resulted in at least 750 cases of attempted identity theft. The FTC accused ChoicePoint of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act, despite getting subpoenas from federal government since 2001 alerting it to fraudulent activities. In 2006, the company paid $15 million to settle the FTC claims.
ChoicePoint’s mistakes pre-date the subpoenas. In 2000, ChoicePoint complied the faulty list of 94,000 "felons" purged from Florida’s voter rolls before the presidential election.
Choicepoint uses the Sybase software program for its data-mining operations. Winston Partners, co-founded by Marvin Bush, owns a large portion of Sybase. Choicepoint and Sybase provide programs for many of the world’s financial companies to comply with the Patriot Act’s requirements.
Federal agencies have spent at least $117 million on contracts with ChoicePoint since the company's inception in 1997, according to procurement data stored by the U.S. General Services Administration. The company has worked on many high-level government projects, including tracking the 19 al Qaida bombers responsible for the September 11 attacks.
Hamre also sits on the board at ITT Industries Inc., which is relatively scandal-free. The company is a top contractor, coming in 16th on the Washington Technology list with $865,350,426 from federal contracts in 2005.
He is on the board of MITRE, which shared offices with the FAA and Ptech before September 11. Ptech, an information technology company, supplied software to many government agencies before September 11 including the FBI and the Pentagon. In 2002, it was raided by government officials, which suspected the company of being a terrorist financer. Saudi founder Yassen Al Qadi is a designated terror financer who funneled $3 million to Osama bin Laden.
In 2002, Hamre co-authored the President's Commission on the Future of the US Aerospace Industry - Final Report: Anyone, Anything, Anytime, Anywhere. He was also a member of the exercise staff of Operation Dark Winter, a bio-terror attack simulation conducted in June 2001.
- “Feds probe IT sector links to al-Qaeda,” Computerworld, 12/9/02.
- “$170 Million Bought FBI an Unusable Computer System,” Washington Post, 8/18/06.
- “2006 Top 100 List,” Washington Technology, 5/15/06.
- “Government Employing Brokers as Data Posse,” The Palm Beach Post, 4/24/2005.
- “Officials Wary of Felon Purge,” St. Petersburg Times, 5/19/2004.
Hamre bio on CSIS