The intelligence business at the US national level is pathologically afflicted with the "mature bureaucracy" syndrome. The national agencies (CIA, DIA, NSA and the imagery thing - whatever they call it this week) have existed long enough to become risk averse self protective management cliques in their upper echelons. These agencies are also badly infected with political correctness in personnel selections and often choose people in ways that have little to do with competence.
i wrote about some of these problems in an unpublished essay entitled "Artists versus Bureaucrats."
Because of these defects the national IC does not do well in undertaking large scale and risk laden tasks whether these are analytic or in the operational HUMINT field. In fairness, the recent Iran NIE struggle seems to indicate some improvement in the agencies. Clapper must be doing something right.
To compensate for those deficiencies the IC, the JCS, etc. "farm out" many difficult pieces of work to private companies who can employ retired talent (among them me occasionally) and who are not bound by all the daily trivia of bureaucratic Washington, a place where dispprovals are much easier to obtain than approvals.
In short I don't have any objection to what Clarridge is doing. i would have only two questions about it:
1- Is he doing a good job?
2- Is it legal?