A massive Booz Allen Hamilton intelligence operation for the U.S. government began with a no-bid $2 million contract and grew exponentially in a way typical of the go-go era of security contracting after September 2001, Post reporter Robert O'Harrow Jr. noted in a 2007 article.

Within two years, that no-bid contract had mushroomed into a second effort for $73 million for the Department of Homeland Security. The Booz Allen effort exposed minimal oversight by the U.S. government and the expanding power of private contractors.

As O'Harrow put it:

"In a rush to meet congressional mandates to establish the information analysis and infrastructure protection offices, agency officials routinely waived rules designed to protect taxpayer money. As the project progressed, the department became so dependent on Booz Allen that it lost the flexibility for a time to seek out other contractors or hire federal employees who might do the job for less.''

One example of minimal government oversight cited by O'Harrow:

In 2004, Booz Allen took on a variety of tasks without government approval for as long as seven weeks, according to an e-mail by a Homeland Security procurement official. "VA never Oked the work, by an order or verbally," contracting officer Paul Attorri wrote.

Read O'Harrow's full article here.

The contract grew to $124 million, even as government investigators questioned the effectiveness of the product. From 2004 to 2011, the Center For Investigative Reporting said, "the office has produced more than 14,000 such documents – known as Homeland Intelligence Reports – many of them with little tactical value to law enforcement and security officials.''