Booz Allen Hamilton bleeds revenue as PRISM leak is investigated
Company will face unknown future losses.
Booz Allen Hamilton has lost tens of millions of dollars in market value just days after a former employee leaked sensitive government secrets to the media. Those secrets relate to PRISM, a top secret government program that has been aggregating private data on hundreds of millions of Americans for several years.
Booz Allen sells technical expertise and professional data analysis to the government and has particularly close ties to the National Security Administration (NSA). The company's dealings are so confidential that it warns shareholders they may not be able to tell how the company earns most of its revenue.
More than two thirds of the firm's employees have Top Secret or above security clearance.
The firm employs about two 95,000 people.
It's difficult to tell if the company's existing contracts will be harmed, but it's easy to imagine that it may have a harder time procuring contracts in the future since trust in the company has now been eroded.
Last week, Edward Snowden, 29, a three-month employee of the firm left his new job with the company, as well as a girlfriend and home in Hawaii, to leak sensitive details about PRISM to the news media. He is thought to be hiding in Hong Kong, now a wanted man.
Until now, Booz Allen has had an impeccable record as far as security breaches go. According to government sources, only three complaints of leaked information have been traced back to Booz Allen since 1995. This is considered to be a good number for such a large firm.
Now, the company will have to conduct internal investigations for which it will probably need to hire intelligence experts including former top Cabinet and security officials. Hiring these high-profile investigators will cost millions of dollars, and while the investigations are conducted, the government may be reluctant to sign new contracts with the firm.
Snowden said his motivation was to protect all Americans, but until he can be found and questioned by authorities, and the leaks are fully investigated, the true motivation and impact of his deeds will remain unclear. While it seems desirable to think of Snowden as a martyr for democracy, it is also possible that his motives could be to do harm to the United States government, or to sell secrets to the Chinese.
Currently, he is hiding in Hong Kong, or he has at least disappeared. His whereabouts and fate remained unknown.
Back at home, Booz Allen Hamilton and its shareholders can expect rough times ahead.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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