Edward Snowden's Employer: 6 Shocking Facts About Booz Allen Hamilton

Much of the media are still swarming today over the identity of Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old government contractor who revealed himself yesterday in an interview with The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald as the source of last week's massive leak of national security documents. Snowden released a number of papers to Greenwald, as well as reporters at The Washington Post, revealing the NSA's collection of "metadata" from Verizon customers, as well as a massive dragnet of digital information through partnerships with nine computer giants.  

In the interview, Snowden mentions that he was most recently an employee of a government contracting firm named Booz Allen Hamilt


Here's what we know about them:

 

1. They Pay Well

Snowden, who lacked a college degree, reports making $200,000 a year at the firm. According to a report by The Washington Post, the company’s Chairman, Ralph W. Shrader, was given $3.1 million in compensation during the fiscal year of 2012.

2. They're Big

The Post reports that the company has 24,500 employees, and a market cap of $2.5 billion. They reported $5.8 billion in revenue for 2013, of which $219 million were profits. And profits have been rising considerably in recent years. Net operating income was $200 million in 2010, off of $5.1 billion in revenue. Three years later revenue had grown to $5.8 billion, while operating income had doubled to $446 million.  

In other words, while their business remained steady, margins increased considerably.

3. Government Contracting Is Their Business

According to their 10-K filing, "we have strong and longstanding relationships with a diverse group of clients at all levels of the U.S. government. During fiscal 2013, we derived 99% of our revenue from services under more than 5,700 contracts and task orders. The single largest entity that we served in fiscal 2013 was the Army, which represented approximately 16% of our revenue in that period. We derived 91% of our revenue in the fiscal 2013 from engagements for which we acted as the prime contractor."

Of that revenue, a further 23%, or $1.3 billion, came from U.S. Intelligence agencies.

4. They're Working on Predictive Intelligence

The Post reports that the company put together a "Strategic Innovation Group," on August 1, staffing it with 1,500 employees. 

Among the group's goals are "developing predictive intelligence services that include anticipatory cyber threat solutions, protection, and detection capabilities and the application of social media analytics designed to provide early identification of trends that would otherwise not be possible using after-the-fact analysis of traditional data sources."

In other words — they want to catch the bad guys before they do bad things. And they want to do it by leveraging social media (surprise, surprise).

5. They're Active in Washington

The group, located near DC with headquarters in McLean, Virginia, is an active political player. Reports show that Booz Allen contributed $1.2 million in recent years to campaign finance, with $176,757 going to Barack Obama, $54,360 to Hillary Clinton, $51,951 to Mitt Romney, and $44,264 to John McCain. Fifty-five percent (55%) of their contributions went to Democratic candidates and causes, while 44% went to Republicans.

They employ over 70 individuals to sit on 54 federal advisory committees, including those that report to the Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, Federal Communications Commission, NASA, the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security.

6. They're Distancing Themselves from Snowden

In a press release, Booz Allen representatives confirm that Snowden has been an employee with the firm for the last three months, and assigned to a team in Hawaii.

"New reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm," the statement reads. "We will work closely with our clients and authorities in their investigation of this matter."

The company has previously reported that one of their biggest risks to business is a diminished relationship with their clients (the government). According to filings, "any issue that compromises our relationship with the U.S. government generally or any U.S. government agency that we serve would cause our revenue to decline." 

Stocks slid 4% at the start of the day, following news about Snowden, to climb slightly. They ended down 2.5% for the day, at $17.54.


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T. Chase Meacham

Student at Georgetown University studying theater and government. Writer, director, and Secretary of the Arts for the Georgetown University Student Association.

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