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3/15/2006
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Ross Perot's Outsourcing Company Hires Controversial Ex-CIA Agent

Perot Systems hires David Szady, a former CIA official and FBI agent, to sell more services to defense and intelligence markets.

Perot Systems, the IT services firm founded by one-time presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, is looking to expand its presence in the shadowy defense and intelligence markets. To that end, the company has hired David Szady, a former CIA official and FBI agent, to head its efforts in those areas.

Company officials say Szady will lead Perot Systems' drive to sell IT and related services to government agencies that focus on intelligence, counterintelligence, and law enforcement. "It's a tremendous growth area for us," says Jim Ballard, president of Perot Systems' Government Services Group. The company disclosed the hiring on Tuesday.

Szady joined the FBI in 1972 and also worked for the CIA in a number of capacities, including as chief of its Counterespionage Group. Szady hit the headlines last year for his role in a controversial investigation of an Israeli lobby group. Two members of the group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, were arrested for allegedly receiving classified information from a Pentagon analyst. Critics of the investigation, including some Jewish groups, claim the charges were trumped up.

Szady was also involved in a separate investigation that ultimately led to the arrest of former FBI agent Robert Hanssen on charges of spying for the former Soviet Union. Szady and his team have been accused of single-mindedly focusing on the wrong man until Hanssen was arrested.

Ballard says Szady's job history won't be a liability for Perot Systems. "It's not unusual for people with his background to be involved in some areas that are controversial," says Ballard. Along with Szady, Perot Systems is hiring additional staffers to focus on the defense and intelligence markets. "We're bringing them in in groups of 25 and 30," says Ballard, who predicts that the company will see high single-digit or double-digit sales growth in those markets.

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