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updated: 6/11/2013 11:10 AM

Hagel: Budget forces review of outside contracts

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the Pentagon is reviewing all private contractors as the department deals with budget cuts and the lucrative payment to an NSA leaker casts a spotlight on the outside work.

Hagel said on Tuesday that the department has no choice as it faces a cut in projected spending of $37 billion this year from automatic, across-the-board cuts.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin cited published reports about Edward Snowden, a former employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, who revealed details of two National Security Agency surveillance programs. The reports said the high school dropout received a six-figure salary.

Durbin said private contractors employ 22 percent of the Defense Department workforce but account for 50 percent of the cost for the department.

Hagel testified at a Senate subcommittee hearing.

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