John Lovegrove is an executive at TASC who, along with Al Pisani and other executives of the federal contracting firm, spent a portion of 2010 in talks with HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr on the prospect of establishing a program called COIN/Romas for the purpose of competing for government surveillance contracts which were then held by Northrop Grumman and SAIC, which themselves were working under a partnership. Lovegrove and his partners at TASC were also looking into the possibility of either acquiring HBGary Federal or establishing another firm from which Barr would operate on similar surveillance efforts for the U.S. federal government. See the TASC page for further details.
When reached by phone in May of 2011 by Barrett Brown in preparation for an article on the subject, Lovegrove was understandably reluctant to discuss his company's efforts to target the American citizenry for mass surveillance and tried to proclaim his poor telephone performance as "off the record," apparently failing to understand how such things work. The audio is available here; YouTube took down the original recording due to some unspecified "terms of service" violation. A transcript is below:
Brown: Hello, is this Mr. Lovegrove?
Brown: Hi, John. My name is Barrett Brown and I'm working on an article for al-Jazeera on the intelligence contracting industry. Uh, I wanted to ask you a couple questions if you'd be willing to talk to me about the counter intel project you were working on with Aaron Barr of HBGary Federal, uh, in the summer of last year. The, uh, you know the Romas/COIN project?
Lovegrove: I can't talk about that.
Brown: Is that, uh, is that proprietary, or, uh...
Lovegrove: It's not something I'm gonna say something about.
Brown: So you don't have any comment-
Lovegrove: What's your name again?
Brown: Barrett Brown.
Lovegrove: Barrett Brown?
Lovegrove: And where are you calling from?
Brown: Well I'm calling from Texas, but I'm writing an article for al-Jazeera, I'm a journalist, and I've been asked to do an article on some of the things that happened with your company and HBGary back in 2010.
Lovegrove: I can't comment and anything I have said so far is off the record.
Brown: Alright, uh... well you haven't really said anything, so... but, uh
Lovegrove: I just wanted to make sure.
Brown: Well, it's all on the record insomuch as that I'm calling as a journalist. But, so, you can't comment at all on Romas/COIN or Mantech, or the recompete deal you guys were working on?
Brown: How about Northrop Grumman, can you talk about them, and their work?
Lovegrove: Like I said, I can't comment.
Brown: Alright, so is there anything you're willing to talk about regarding your company and what you guys were working on?
Lovegrove: No sir.
Brown: Ah, so you do have any comment regarding - you understand that obviously people are looking into these e-mails that went public regarding surveillance programs that are-
Lovegrove: Still not gonna comment.
Brown: I mean, are you guys ashamed of what you were doing, or, I mean - you can get good publicity out of this if you're doing something important.
Lovegrove: (Brief silence) Okay, I'm gonna hang up now, no comment.
Brown: Alright, have fun, adios.