By Perry Diaz
Recently, Teodoro Daniel Misael V. Llamanzares has come to the limelight of Philippine politics. For “Neil” – that’s his moniker — who had held a top secret job in the United States, he’d be expected to avoid publicity, let alone people spying into his background. That would certainly make him uneasy because his former employer, Scientific Applications International Corporation (SAIC), happens to be a spy outfit. SAIC has a symbiotic relationship with the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). For years, SAIC was NSA’s largest contractor, earning the nickname ‘NSA West’ inside the intelligence community. Would it be accurate to classify Neil as a “spy” when he worked for SAIC?
According to the article, “Washington’s $8 Billion Shadow,” published in Vanity Fair Magazine on February 6, 2007, SAIC is the biggest and most powerful of the government contractors. At that time, SAIC had 9,000 government contracts, many of which involved secret intelligence work; hence, it was called a “stealth company.” It had 44,000 employees at that time and took in $8 billion the previous year, including a lot of the “expertise” behind the Iraq War.
With all the wars and crises going on now, it makes one wonder how SAIC is doing these days? Open Source Investigations (OSI) – which is comprised of investigative journalists, researchers, analysts, and fact-checkers – said that SAIC is the largest private intelligence service in the world.
Neil Llamanzares’ connection to America’s intelligence community surfaced when a curious De La Salle professor, Antonio Contreras, checked Llamanzares’ background in the Internet. And what he uncovered was a can of worms! As it turned out, SAIC is a “body shop” that provides expertise to the intelligence agencies in the following areas: weapons, homeland security, surveillance, computer systems, information dominance, and information warfare. Neil worked for SAIC as an “Area Manager/Systems Architect” from November 2004 to April 2006. He was assigned to the U.S. intelligence agencies; e.g., NSA, CIA, DIA.
It’s interesting to note what OSI had posted on its website. It said: “In the verified answer submitted to the [Philippines’] Senate Electoral Tribunal, Grace Poe said that she returned to the Philippines in May 2005 while her husband ‘stayed in the U.S.A. to finish pending projects and to arrange for the sale of the family home there’.
“Neil Llamanzares did stay in the US until May 2006. He did sell their million-dollar mansion. And he did have very important projects to finish. But both Grace Poe and her husband kept the nature of those important projects secret.
“And that is because the Philippine presidential candidate’s husband is a former US Intelligence contractor.”
Neil’s American projects
– NSA’s Trailblazer – a new computer system able to store, sort and give meaning to the massive volume of telephone, e-mail, and other electronic communications that the NSA intercepts worldwide (including in the Philippines).
– DIA and CIA’s Office of Strategic Influence – a program designed to feed disinformation to the foreign press (including to the press in the Philippines).
– DIA’s Joint Intelligence Operation Center – a worldwide group of joint intelligence organizations that gather, interpret, and act on information collected by the DIA and its sister agencies, NSA, NGA, and NRO (including from the Philippines).
Prior to Neil’s employment at SAIC, he served in the U.S. Air Force from 1988 to 1992. When Neil married Grace Poe in the Philippines in 1991, the couple moved to America where Neil was then in active duty in the U.S. Air Force.
But these facts were contrary to what Grace had told a gathering of Filipino-Americans in Los Angeles on June 14, 2014. She talked about her “immigrant life in the U.S.” She claimed that her husband got a job in the U.S. and decided to live as immigrants in America where “opportunities are limitless for those who work hard.”
That was a bunch of lies! First, Neil was already in active military service in the U.S. when they got married. Secondly, Neil is an American citizen. Thirdly, they lived a military life in a military base, which by no means can be called “immigrant life.”
Evidently, Grace tried to identify herself with the Filipino-American community, but the truth is she was detached from it. There were no records or history of Grace getting involved in the Fil-Am community for the two decades that she lived in the U.S.
Interestingly, Grace has yet to publicly acknowledge that Neil was formerly enlisted in the U.S. military and that his most recent job was with an espionage mega-contractor. One thing – and only one thing – could come to mind why she was quiet about all these. Could it be that she didn’t want the Philippine electorate to think that she could be controlled by the CIA through Neil who could still be under the influence of SAIC?
Or perhaps, Grace’s veil of secrecy is intended to blunt any attempt to discredit her pronounced “anti-American” campaign rhetoric, which seems to be just a ploy to mutate her image as an “American military wife living in a military base housing.”
House of cards
It did not then come as a surprise that many Filipinos perceive Grace as an “American puppet,” hence her endeavor to distance herself from the U.S. But the fact remains that her husband – who is a dual citizen — has yet to renounce his American citizenship. What’s taking him so long? Grace explained that the process has been started. However, she pointed out that renunciation of one’s U.S. citizenship requires providing information of his or her whereabouts over the last five years, which raises the question: Why is it taking Neil so long to declare where he had been? His U.S. passport should show all his travels outside the country.
But a persistent rumor is going around that Neil would renounce his American citizenship after the election. Can that be qualified to say: “…only if Grace wins”? There is a Filipino term for that – “sigurista.” But for now they are living in a “house of cards,” which could collapse at the slightest whiff of political miscalculation. But keeping his American citizenship would guarantee his return to the U.S. if and when he decides to go back. And with his experience working for SAIC before, he might even be rehired to his old job.
With all the intrigue and political games being played, the question remains: Who is Neil Llamanzares? Is he really an American spy or just an opportunist who is playing a very dangerous version of Russian roulette; that is, five bullets and one empty chamber?