I was listening to a CBC radio newsmagazine show on the weekend, and one of the segments revolved around the rather sizeable role that private contractors play in addressing the “big surveillance data” we have been discussing, and attributing nearly exclusively (perhaps naively so) to NSA. One of the interviewees noted that the considerable budget allocated to private contractors, in his view, was an outgrowth of the perceived need to have instant capacity in the period immediately following 09/11. He estimates it as being in the 10’s of billions range. I have no basis for judging the veracity of this claim.
I’ll leave it to you folks to determine if this is a legitimate inference, and concern, or not. Note that the show is 54 minutes long. The segment on the PRISM initiative is just at the beginning. It is the first podcast on this page: http://www.cbc.ca/day6/podcasts/ Left clicking will stream it.