It looks like MZM was in the Department of Homeland Security, and may still be there. Here’s why:
A Pentagon spokesman confirmed that the office of Paul McHale, Asst. Sec. of Defense for Homeland Defense, has no “operations centers” — the 24/7 intelligence monitoring centers where watchstanders monitor intelligence feeds and sound alarms when big stuff happens. (McHale’s office held the MZM contract we reported.)Beyond that, he couldn’t help. “We cannot discuss any MZM contracts as the US Attorney is still investigating the case,” Defense spokesman Maj. Paul Swiergosz emailed me.
That means the MZM contract employees most likely served McHale as detailees in another ops center. But where?
A quick call to defense and intelligence expert (and fellow blogger) Bill Arkin helped us narrow the list to one facility: The Homeland Security Department’s Homeland Security Operations Center.
Arkin systematically ruled out Northcom (he’s got a Northcom roster, and nobody from McHale’s office is on it), the National Military Command Center (no contractors from McHale’s office there) and others. “Basically,” he concluded, “we’re talking about DHS.”
I’m starting to wonder, where didn’t MZM work? To date we’ve learned the firm was translating in Iraq for the CPA; providing equipment and expertise to domestic intelligence operations at Defense; working counterintelligence at Energy; and representing the Pentagon at the DHS ops center.
We don’t yet know the full scope of who was using Wade’s operations, and why. Normally, a private contractor choose a specialty: open source intelligence analysis, training security forces, translation, IT design. But MZM sounds like it would do anything for anybody. What other programs has MZM dipped into that we don’t yet know about?