Booz Allen fights reputation damage due to NSA leak

Consulting giant Booz Allen Hamilton took additional steps to repair its reputation after former employee Edward Snowden leaked a secret US government surveillance program to media outlets.

Consulting giant Booz Allen Hamilton took additional steps to repair its reputation after former employee Edward Snowden leaked a secret US government surveillance program to media outlets.

Booz Allen released an updated statement Tuesday saying it fired Snowden on Monday for violating its policy and code of ethics. The firm also said Snowden earned a yearly salary of $122,000, not $200,000 as he had claimed – although that figure could have included overtime pay and bonuses.

“News 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. We will work closely with our clients and authorities in their investigation of this matter,” Booz Allen said in the statement.

The firm's response is important because much of its business comes from federal intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency. Booz Allen earned 23% of total revenue in its most recent fiscal year from intelligence work; 99% came from the federal government.

The company's shares dropped Monday after Snowden identified himself on Sunday as the source who leaked secret documents revealing that the NSA is conducting wide-reaching surveillance of Internet users through a program called Prism. President Barack Obama and James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, have confirmed the existence of Prism without providing further details about it.

Snowden worked at Booz Allen for less than three months as an infrastructure analyst based in Hawaii. The firm employs about 25,000 people, nearly half of whom hold top secret security clearances, according to a company securities filing.

Scrutiny of Booz Allen, which competes with companies such as Lockheed Martin and CACI International for US intelligence contracts, is likely to continue for a long time. Firing one errant employee, while a good first step, will not be enough for Booz Allen to demonstrate to clients that it is capable of protecting sensitive government information.

A representative from Booz Allen did not respond to a request for comment.

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