Edward Snowden: Raising the Contractor/Supplier Management Compliance Question (Part 1)

The broader question of national security aside, the plight of former Booz Allen employee and government contractor Edward Snowden not so subtly raises a point about broader contractor and supplier management compliance and the depths that managed services providers (MSPs), staffing firms and consultancies should go when it comes to vetting both white collar and blue collar workers. Moreover, with the most recent revelations in the South China Morning Post that Snowden took his Booz Allen contractor job specifically in order to snoop on secure government systems and gain access to privileged data, the question of contingent workforce compliance will loom that much larger in both public and private sector circles.

Specifically, according to the SCMP story, “Edward Snowden secured a job with a US government contractor for one reason alone – to obtain evidence on Washington’s cyberspying networks… For the first time, Snowden has admitted he sought a position at Booz Allen Hamilton so he could collect proof about the US National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programmes ahead of planned leaks to the media.” Snowden tells the SCMP that “My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked … That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.” Moreover, “Asked if he specifically went to Booz Allen Hamilton to gather evidence of surveillance, he replied: “Correct on Booz.”

Snowden is not the first contractor or consultant to take advantage of privileged information – and most certainly won’t be the last. Rajat Gupta and Anil Kumar recently did it, tarnishing the reputation of esteemed management consultancy, McKinsey and Company. And thousands of others no doubt have as well. But the Snowden story is the one that Spend Matters believes will lead to a new focus on contractor and supplier management compliance and controls in the case of contingent and outsourced workers (consultants and business process outsourcing firms included). It’s the perfect storm to bring together the need for better processes with the integration of vendor management (VMS) and supplier management platforms for managing contractor and service provider compliance.

Check back tomorrow as we begin to investigate this topic more fully, including sharing perspectives from around the Spend Matters office on best practice components of supplier and contractor compliance.

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