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America’s new spy trick

By Tom Toles

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Something stupid

While it is nearly always a mistake to tell somebody about a dream you had, this one is short. Last night two friends and I were hiking along a creek, when up ahead on the left were Frank Sinatra and his daughter Nancy singing Something Stupid. My friends were pretty excited and ran ahead to listen and tell the Sinatras how awesome it was. Now, I would like as much as anyone to listen to Sinatra sing in person -- especially as it's really hard to do now -- and woo hoo with the best of them -- but NOT THAT SONG. I hung back and cleaned my sneakers with toothpaste and my index finger.

When I caught up after the song, it was too late for me. Frank was touched by my friends' enthusiasm and showed his legendary generosity by inviting both of them to his place for barbecue and giving them front-row tickets to an upcoming show. All I got was a chance to wave at him as they all hiked away up the hill together. The lesson? This is what integrity will get you in this life. On the other hand, my sneakers whitened up surprisingly nicely. --Tom Toles

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By Tom Toles  | July 20, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Federal government, National Security  
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Comments

Strange dream Toles. Sometimes it is best to keep things to yourself. Don't you agree? Don't bother with an answer...I wouldn't believe you anyway.
What I don't understand (then again there are many things I can't seem to get a grasp of as of late) is why you would think yourself "sincere" in refusing to go up to the "musicians" and acknowledge them just because they happened to be singing one particular song that you don't care for??
I would call that rude. Especially if you enjoy their other songs. Or maybe you just don't like Nancy???
Back in the day I bet she could have walked all over you : )

Posted by: bertzel | July 20, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

You called it, PrairieDog60. I think the folks calling the series "treasonous" would have been happy in Stalin's Soviet Union, where secrecy was the norm. They monger fear. Considering that the contractors mentioned in this series (and plenty of other books and articles like it) are very public presences, with logos on their buildings, with public addresses listed, I don't understand the concern.

About that military/industrial complex - now with added intelligence! - remember that Dwight Eisenhower originally added "congressional" to the term, but didn't want to offend congressmen.

50 year later, I'm offended that congressmen didn't listen to Eisenhower. You're right - this will bankrupt us as a nation.

Posted by: sjones1 | July 20, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm amused by the posts here calling the WaPo team that worked on this article "treasonous". They're all in favor of little weasels trying to infiltrate ACORN, an organization that helped poor and disadvantaged people (and was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing with their meager federal funds), but how dare professional reporters try to determine how and where billions of taxpayer dollars are spent on intelligence contractors.

There was a time in this country when civil service and serving your country was about national security, dedication, and patriotism (some things I thought conservatives kinda liked). This story uncovers the fact that now, thanks to Bush's apparatus, it's mostly about money.

And how did we get here? I recall the policy of the Reagan administration. Cut federal jobs or decrease federal salaries so much, or just stop giving raises, until the federal workforce gradually loses its experienced people, becomes more inexperienced and incompetent, and the private sector gets all the good workers...all in the effort to "shrink" government. Well, guess what? It didn't work. We now pay more people more tax dollars for this kind of work than we ever did before. Except now, they're accountable to shareholders, and not the nation or the taxpayers.

As far as terrorists attacking these facilities now that their locations have been "revealed"...puhLEASE! You can't spit anywhere near DC without hitting a building that has something to do with "National Security" anymore. It must be interesting to live your life in such fear of boogeymen that you're willing to forego any sense of control over what your government does or how well it adheres to the Constitution.

Let's all face it...we overreacted to 9/11 in myriad ways, and it will take a very long time to undo this fear-driven military/industrial/intelligence complex we've created. It will bankrupt us, financially and morally, faster than any social program ever could.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | July 20, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I don't want to know about a dream if Nancy Sinatra was singing. Old Blues Eyes, yes, but not Nancy. A lot more interesting would be to let me tell you about my recurring George W. Bush dreams. I thought they would stop after he left office, but they didn't. Just as in real life, dreams contunue to haunt me.

Posted by: bavery1 | July 20, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I dreamed I was checking to see if I had won a contest and I WON. But I woke right away and remembered that winning in a dream is not so much of a benefit. It is like waking with a hand full of gold. Nothing comes through. I must be ready to see "Inception."

Posted by: gary4books | July 20, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

It does appear that Mr. Arkin has an agenda. I see that one time he called our soldiers a mercenary force. He is also not willing to divulge some of his work. He fits the stereotype of a left-wing journalist to a tee.

Posted by: bobbo2 | July 20, 2010 3:30 AM | Report abuse

Sooner or later, the Post is going to have to let readers post comments on the intelligence community series begun today.

In my opinion, this story isn't just reprehensible, it borders on being treasonous. What was the Post thinking, publishing details about intelligence operations employees, locations, tactics and cooperating businesses?

What a sad spectacle, seeing how far the Post has fallen.

Posted by: tacheronb | July 19, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I question the wisdom of exposing the locations of all of these new security installations by the Washington Post. It can almost be assured that would be terrorists are keeping a copy of this days edition of the Post as a reference. But it is enlightening to see how out of control our Government can get when budgets are secret. I would not be surprised if some of these Agencies start spying on each other. Isn't it something that J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI were able to arrest German spies who were deposited by U-Boat on our shores within days of their arrival? This kind of overwhelming intelligence apparatus can be used for evil as well as good. If it is used against American citizens for no reason it is time to dismantle the whole thing. We cannot allow this type of apparatus to grow and grow unchecked. The flow chart of this mess must end up in a big circle.

Posted by: bobbo2 | July 19, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I think Frank Sinatra may have been my uncle. It's a long story and more boring than it is interesting, and probably not true anyway. But it's fun to dream about, even if you don't have the good sense to bring some decent toothpaste on a hike along a creek.

Posted by: dudeupnorth | July 19, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

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