Behind the Curtain: Booz Allen Hamilton and its Owner, The Carlyle Group

By:  Bob Adelmann
06/13/2013
       
Behind the Curtain: Booz Allen Hamilton and its Owner, The Carlyle Group

The revelations by Edward Snowden are causing public relations problems for two of Washington's finest examples of incestuous intertwining: Booz Allen Hamilton and its parent, The Carlyle Group.

According to writers Thomas Heath and Marjorie Censer at the Washington Post, The Carlyle Group and its errant child, Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH), have a public relations problem, thanks to NSA leaker and former BAH employee Edward Snowden. By the time top management at BAH learned that one of their top level agents had gone rogue, and terminated his employment, it was too late.

For years Carlyle had, according to the Post, “nurtured a reputation as a financially sophisticated asset manager that buys and sells everything from railroads to oil refineries”; but now the light from the Snowden revelations has revealed nothing more than two companies, parent and child, “bound by the thread of turning government secrets into profits.”

And have they ever. When The Carlyle Group bought BAH back in 2008, it was totally dependent upon government contracts in the fields of information technology (IT) and systems engineering for its bread and butter. But there wasn't much butter: After two years the company’s gross revenues were $5.1 billion but net profits were a minuscule $25 million, close to a rounding error on the company’s financial statement. In 2012, however, BAH grossed $5.8 billion and showed earnings of $219 million, nearly a nine-fold increase in net revenues and a nice gain in value for Carlyle.

Unwittingly, the Post authors exposed the real reason for the jump in profitability: close ties and interconnected relationships between top people at Carlyle and BAH, and the agencies with which they are working. The authors quoted George Price, an equity analyst at BB&T Capital: "[Booz Allen has] got a great brand, they've focused over time on hiring top people, including bringing on people who have a lot of senior government experience." (Emphasis added.)

For instance, ...

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