Meet the New Interrogators: Lockheed Martin

The military contracting giant expands its wartime offerings

| January 12, 2006

It takes some awful quick talking to sneak around the Geneva Conventions, but if Vice President Dick Cheney had gotten his way on the torture debate, CIA counter-terrorism agents overseas wouldn't even have to mince their words. That would have certainly loosened things up for Lockheed Martin, the world's largest military contractor, which charges the US government up to $200 per interrogator, per hour, according to Pratap Chatterjee of CorpWatch.

Based in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin offers its interrogation recruits salaries of $70,000 to $90,000, plus bonuses for signing and sticking it out through deployment terms, Chatterjee writes. Every Sunday, the civilian interrogators of tomorrow meet with military personnel in a welcome briefing before receiving their black duffle bags filled with combat helmets, clothing, and gas masks. They will work beside actual military interrogators on people suspected of terrorist links, learning Q-and-A techniques that, according to Chatterjee, range from 'love of comrades' to 'fear up harsh.'

Because their contracts with the government haven't been made public, it's difficult to determine the full involvement of private companies that serve the military. For Lockheed Martin at least, it's clear interrogation is only a fraction of its war services. Since the war's origins, a variety of the company's planes and missiles have been used, in addition to its satellite imagery. But that's only on a material level. Chatterjee quotes New York Times national security reporter Tim Weiner as writing, the company is an 'information-technology empire' serving the government at nearly every level -- sorting mail, cutting Social Security checks, counting the census, monitoring air traffic, and, in the process, writing 'more computer code than Microsoft.'
-- Ty Otis

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