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The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.
These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.
The investigation's other findings include:
* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.
* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.
* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.
* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year - a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.
Early next week, the Washington Post is expected to publish articles and an interactive website that will likely contain a compendium of government agencies and contractors allegedly conducting Top Secret work. The website is expected to enable users to see the relationships between the federal government and its contractors, describe the type of work the contractors perform, and may identify many government and contractor facility locations.
Publication is expected starting July 19, 2010 with additional articles published thereafter. We request that all ODNI contractors remind all cleared employees of their responsibility to protect classified information and relationships, and to abide by contractual agreements regarding non-publicity. Employees should be reminded that they must neither confirm nor deny information contained in this, or any, media publication, and that the publication of this website does not constitute a change in any current ODNI classifications. They should also be reminded that if approached and asked to discuss their work by media or unauthorized people, they should report the interactions to their appropriate security officer.
Acting Director of National Intelligence David C. Gompert issued a statement Monday morning (PDF) reacting to The Washington Post series "Top Secret America," by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin.
"The reporting does not reflect the Intelligence Community we know," he said.
"We accept that we operate in an environment that limits the amount of information we can share," he said. "However, the fact is, the men and women of the Intelligence Community have improved our operations, thwarted attacks, and are achieving untold successes every day.
"In recent years, we have reformed the IC in ways that have improved the quality, quantity, regularity, and speed of our support to policymakers, warfighters, and homeland defenders, and we will continue our reform efforts. We provide oversight, while also encouraging initiative. We work constantly to reduce inefficiencies and redundancies, while preserving a degree of intentional overlap among agencies to strengthen analysis, challenge conventional thinking, and eliminate single points of failure. We are mindful of the size of our contractor ranks, but greatly value the critical flexibility and specialized skills they contribute to our mission.
"The challenges that lie ahead are difficult and complex. We will continue to scrutinize our own operations, seek ways to improve and adapt, and work with Congress on its crucial oversight and reform efforts. We can always do better, and we will. And the importance of our mission and our commitment to keeping America safe will remain steadfast, whether they are reflected in the day's news or not."
Originally posted by freighttrain
- Please feel free to remove this thread if it's already posted, I couldn't find it!
- Secondly, please move this to "breaking news" I realized I was in the wrong category after I posted, I don't want to duplicate this thread, THANK YOU!
Originally posted by texas thinker
854,000 Top Secret Clearances? How the hell can anything that needs to be secret be safe from our enemies? That is amazing. I cannot begin to imagine the cost. Let's see, those 854.000 employees alone, let's say make 100K annual on average (probably way way more) that would be 85,400,000,000 if my math is right?
Originally posted by texas thinker
854,000 Top Secret Clearances? How the hell can anything that needs to be secret be safe from our enemies?
Your're right - it can't possible be.....unless, of course, you look at it from the alternative reality view point.
In that scenario, there are no real external enemies, or terrorists, they are all just so many actors playing fake parts to dupe the public. In reality they are all working together - all the Nazionists. Their real enemy is the people. In fact the Government declared war on the people on 9/11.
So - the numbers make more sense to me in that scenario. This huge security apparatus, as in any totalitarian state, is in place to facilitate and ensure the total suppression of the masses.
In any totalitarian state the 'Security Apparat' is of paramount importance, because suppression and intimidation are the only way totalitarian dictatorship type government can be sustained.
I'm reminded of this gem...
Originally posted by wcitizen
And so the tide begins to turn. No wonder Obadman has been seeking legisation to shut down the internet. Something tells me he can't stop the infmation dam from bursting, as I believe it is starting to do.
I am hoping that this will encourage other media organisations to defy their masters too.
Come on MSM. What are they going to do, fire you all if you all start speaking out together?
Time for more, organised, collective Counter-Action.
This is just what we need. Well done Washington Post.
But I do ask every publisher, every editor, and every newsman in the nation to reexamine his own standards, and to recognize the nature of our country's peril. In time of war, the government and the press have customarily joined in an effort based largely on self-discipline, to prevent unauthorized disclosures to the enemy. In time of "clear and present danger," the courts have held that even the privileged rights of the First Amendment must yield to the public's need for national security.
Today no war has been declared--and however fierce the struggle may be, it may never be declared in the traditional fashion. Our way of life is under attack. Those who make themselves our enemy are advancing around the globe. The survival of our friends is in danger. And yet no war has been declared, no borders have been crossed by marching troops, no missiles have been fired.
If the press is awaiting a declaration of war before it imposes the self-discipline of combat conditions, then I can only say that no war ever posed a greater threat to our security. If you are awaiting a finding of "clear and present danger," then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent.
It requires a change in outlook, a change in tactics, a change in missions--by the government, by the people, by every businessman or labor leader, and by every newspaper. For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.
Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.
Nevertheless, every democracy recognizes the necessary restraints of national security--and the question remains whether those restraints need to be more strictly observed if we are to oppose this kind of attack as well as outright invasion.
For the facts of the matter are that this nation's foes have openly boasted of acquiring through our newspapers information they would otherwise hire agents to acquire through theft, bribery or espionage; that details of this nation's covert preparations to counter the enemy's covert operations have been available to every newspaper reader, friend and foe alike; that the size, the strength, the location and the nature of our forces and weapons, and our plans and strategy for their use, have all been pinpointed in the press and other news media to a degree sufficient to satisfy any foreign power; and that, in at least in one case, the publication of details concerning a secret mechanism whereby satellites were followed required its alteration at the expense of considerable time and money.
The newspapers which printed these stories were loyal, patriotic, responsible and well-meaning. Had we been engaged in open warfare, they undoubtedly would not have published such items. But in the absence of open warfare, they recognized only the tests of journalism and not the tests of national security. And my question tonight is whether additional tests should not now be adopted.
The question is for you alone to answer. No public official should answer it for you. No governmental plan should impose its restraints against your will. But I would be failing in my duty to the nation, in considering all of the responsibilities that we now bear and all of the means at hand to meet those responsibilities, if I did not commend this problem to your attention, and urge its thoughtful consideration.
On many earlier occasions, I have said--and your newspapers have constantly said--that these are times that appeal to every citizen's sense of sacrifice and self-discipline. They call out to every citizen to weigh his rights and comforts against his obligations to the common good. I cannot now believe that those citizens who serve in the newspaper business consider themselves exempt from that appeal.
I have no intention of establishing a new Office of War Information to govern the flow of news. I am not suggesting any new forms of censorship or any new types of security classifications. I have no easy answer to the dilemma that I have posed, and would not seek to impose it if I had one. But I am asking the members of the newspaper profession and the industry in this country to reexamine their own responsibilities, to consider the degree and the nature of the present danger, and to heed the duty of self-restraint which that danger imposes upon us all.
Every newspaper now asks itself, with respect to every story: "Is it news?" All I suggest is that you add the question: "Is it in the interest of the national security?" And I hope that every group in America--unions and businessmen and public officials at every level-- will ask the same question of their endeavors, and subject their actions to the same exacting tests.
And should the press of America consider and recommend the voluntary assumption of specific new steps or machinery, I can assure you that we will cooperate whole-heartedly with those recommendations.
Perhaps there will be no recommendations. Perhaps there is no answer to the dilemma faced by a free and open society in a cold and secret war. In times of peace, any discussion of this subject, and any action that results, are both painful and without precedent. But this is a time of peace and peril which knows no precedent in history.