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Washington reacts to 'Top Secret America' revelations

Updated 6:59 p.m.
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."

His statement followed a message last week from the ODNI to its contractors (PDF), warning them that "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. ...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."

The State Department's Diplomatic Security Bureau on Thursday also warned all employees in the Washington area -- 14, 574 people -- to "remain aware of their responsibility to protect classified and other sensitive information, such as the Department's relationships with contract firms, other U.S. Government agencies, and foreign governments" in light of the upcoming Post report, according to a report in Foreign Policy's The Cable.

Foreign policy and national security bloggers have begun chewing over "Top Secret America."

The series is "bound to provoke all sorts of questions -- both from taxpayers wondering where their money goes, and from U.S. adversaries looking to penetrate America's spy complex," write Spencer Ackerman and Noah Shachtman on Wired's Danger Room blog.

"But this piece is about much more than dollars," they continue. "It's about what used to be called the Garrison State -- the impact on society of a Praetorian class of war-focused elites....With too many analysts and too many capabilities documenting too much, with too few filters in place to sort out the useful stuff or discover hidden connections, the information overload is its own information blackout."

In Racine, Wis., the Racine Post notes that named local outfit Perceptral "isn't much of a secret." Its owner, Jonathon Pearl -- "a trained opera singer who moved with his family from California to Racine to start a business" -- won RAMAC's 2010 Apollo Award for new and innovative businesses and has become well-known within the area business community for his work on sound technologies.

Conservative and liberal bloggers alike are pointing to the Priest-Arkin story as providing an example of government spending run amok. "If the Washington Post's investigative report 'Top Secret America' by Dana Priest doesn't exemplify how the federal government is an out of control leviathan, I don't know what does," writes The Lonely Conservative.

Meanwhile, liberal Robert Dreyfuss notes in The Nation: "The core problem... is that Al Qaeda and its affiliates, its sympathizers, and even self-starting terrorist actors who aren't part of Al Qaeda itself, are a tiny and manageable problem. Yet the apparatus that has been created is designed to meet nothing less than an existential threat. Even at the height of the Cold War ... there was nothing like the post-9/11 behemoth in existence. A thousand smart intelligence analysts, a thousand smart FBI and law enforcement officers, and a few hundred Special Operations military folk are all that's needed to deal with the terrorism threat."

Update: ODNI issues two memos outlining the contracting and intelligence world after Sept. 11

See also:

PBS's Frontline: Sneak Peek: Inside "Top Secret America" (Video)

NYT: A Look at The Washington Post's 'Top Secret America'

By Garance Franke-Ruta  |  July 19, 2010; 11:33 AM ET
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Next: ODNI memos outline contracting and intelligence world after Sept. 11


what's funny is that there is nothing here you can't see openly at any clearance-themed job fair. this is a whole big bunch of nothing.

Posted by: leeanthonyva | July 19, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

If we had stopped non-white immigration, student visas, or other visas after 9/11, then we would be safer. The government simply has bought off the over 800,000 people with top security clearances to keep quiet while race replacement goes forward. We saw that at Fort Hood and even more so in the report that didn't mention Islam, jihad or even Hasan's name very much or at all.

Posted by: OldAtlantic | July 19, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

This is actually ironic and moderately humorous. A couple of lefties writing an exposing article on what their socialist President is doing to the intelligence community.
Something that appears to be so right wing.

Why would he increase the numbers in the intelligence community? That is such a “Bush like” thing to do!

You see he is not adding God fearing flag loving Americans to those rosters.
He is adding his people in there.
That’s right! I said it! His people!
Oh you think I’m a racist.
Let me clarify:
Yadda Yadda
These people are to dilute those organizations and offer him and his team more control and protection from prosecution.

So this is something that he needs to do to promote his (and your) socialist agenda and you are blowing the whistle on it.
PS: We were on to it from day 1

Posted by: rexreddy | July 19, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I had a very close friend who died some
years ago who was in the forefront of the
use of computer technology in the intelli=
gence world. Before his untimely death,
foreseeing what was coming down the road,
he shared with friends that he thought
the computer revolution was going to over-
load the individual with so much information,which would eventually spill over into corporate confusion, and he had concluded it would be in the best interests of the United States for the computers to all break down. The return to simpler methods of record keeping and computing he thought would vastly improve
America's security, as in World War II
days and human life would take on a much
more personal and higher quality. His kind
is gone.

Posted by: caroleatlarge | July 19, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

The administration also released a memorandum from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence list what he called eight “myths” and seeks to respond point by point the charges against the number of shipments expected to increase. Top Secret America

Posted by: susan166 | July 19, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Agreed with some of the other postings on this. it's a bunch of nothing. If anything, another indications of the Post's left leaning "I hate the intelligence community and the military" leanings. The Post happily bashed Bush for bad intelligence leading up the Iraqi war, and to the lack of preparation after the 9/11 commission findings. Now, the government is building up it's intelligence infrastructure to meet the needs and the Post is still whining.

The IC has a whole lot of internal oversight and reports to Congress. Yes, the eager defense industry bashers at the Post don't get all the daily briefs or have access to our nations secrets to post on line. But the iC is accountable to the Democrat controlled Congress on what is spent, where it's spent, and why. This article is a bunch of left wing drum beating.

Looks to me like the Hippie generation running the Post wants a government of no secrets and shifting defense spending to flower power. Or perhaps the Post is handing out Aluminum Foil helmets to stop the government UFO conspiracy mind control waves.

Posted by: RichmondGiant | July 19, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

secret cabal america, with its 18 known secretist agencies (pentagon, CIA, NSA, NRO, DIA, AIA, AFIA, NIA, SS, DARPA, DHS, ETC.) jefferson said, "any government which makes a policy of long keeping secrets from its own public is no longer working in the interests of the people." and jefferson also said, "only criminals and tyrants require secrecy."

and again jefferson, "the prerequisites for democracy to exist are a well-educated and truthfully informed public." well, i saw an article filled with unbelievable statistics about the increasing utter ignorance of the american people and truthfully-informed means not living under eternally secretist shadows which now secretize permanently some 33 million documents a year, (if even that is true; who knows how many, how much is obscured from public view.) in 1995, congress was finally informed of the existence since 1962 of the NRO... if these can keep a huge agency secret from even congress for 33 years; it is anyone's guess what they are really doing behind our backs with our money and lives.

that old syphillitic indian killer george washington even said, "a democratic society cannot long exist in teh presence of a standing army.' and the constitution does not provide for an endlessly standing army. and that was 230 years of standing army ago. the praetorian guard is always in control, just ask the poseur caesars and senate. and with the indian wars only ending in 1900, and the wars of this century, including the conveniently endless cold war and war OF terror... this nation has been at war for its entire history with we, the sheeple, led to the slaughter baaaaing.

and the US govt has overthrown far more democracies and installed or backed more puppet dictators than any nation in history – 7 times in poor haiti alone. you must first have freedom and democracy in order to export these. what we have here is fiefdom and demockery.

Posted by: tazdelaney | July 19, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

if there are 500,000 mosques in america, there should be 1M or more secret agents, plus the new black panthers should be investigated as well

Posted by: michelleo1 | July 19, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Going after the remaining stable job market in this country makes perfect sense to me. Let's freeze the contracting process for a lenghty investigation. Once those jobs are gone, they can just apply for unemployment. The malls these workers shop at can just close, along with the restaurants where they dine. It will eliminate the need for all these pesky auto dealerships and support businesses in the entire metro area, and no more unsightly new homes to be built. Then the Post can trim it's paper significantly -- there will be no businesses with money left to advertise. If I were a contractor, I would start by pulling all employment ads from papers that show such disdain for the only industry that pumps money into our failing economy.

Posted by: commonsense75 | July 19, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

What, no names and addresses of agents or details of the next assignment? Lucky a President with a "D" behind his name is in the White House or there would have been no restraint from these P__O__S traitors.

Posted by: Bcamp55 | July 19, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

OK, that WaPo prints this 'investigation' at this time simply means that The Powers That Be want this out in public at this time - the question is why. Psychology calls this 'defense by openness' - while still hiding the worse stuff. Possibly to co-opt the 'conspiracy' and transparency movements ie the current Wikileaks embarassment, and to give illusion of a new openness - see, we're showing our hand (don't watch the other hand) and to consolidate power and bring more public acceptance of funding these programs as 'necessary evils'. Google the term - Ponerology - the study of evil. Goebbels would be proud.

Posted by: jdboyne | July 19, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

It is a stunning number that will make millions of jaws drop to the floor in the country. And given the fact that 100.000 U.S. contractors became instant millionaires supporting the U.S. invasion in Iraq - based on prior congressional testimony, another 100.000 supporting the U.S. in Afghanistan are surely drenched in gold, and who knows how many foreign officials are paid bribes by the U.S. for intelligence or support, it seems to me that the CIA pass out "power-ball lotto" contracts like Halloween candies. And, of course, knowing how those involved are paid - like $1.000 to $2.000 dollars a day salaries for security guard work
in Iraq, or suitcases with $ 250.000 for tribal Afghan leaders to switch to the U.S. side, $ 5.000.000 for
Iranian scientist Amiri to defect, etc., it is a gold-mine out there for hundreds of thousands in our CIA payroll, while we lament how our soldiers die in the Afghan minefields from IED's, RPG's, and suicide vests.

Here is my macabre thinking of today: We lament our 9/11 as the worst crime in our history, but its turns out that it has been a blessing for hundreds of thousands - if not millions- of people who are becoming rich from the 9/11 hysteria and wars that followed it, and still go on. Dwight Eisenhower's prediction in 1956 that the U.S. civilian governments will lose control of the U.S. Military and Industrial Complex at some point in history is happening TODAY! And if Eisenhower had been alive today, he might have amended his group as "The Military, Industrial, The Intelligence Community, and the Wall Street Complexes." And thanks to General McChrystal we know today that "Barack Obama was intimidated when he was in the Pentagon's war room surrounded by the Generals!" Our "Civilian Authority" laws over our Industrial, Military, Intelligence Community, and Wall Street Complex are, therefore, more of a euphemism , rather than a fact of how our country is actually governed.

The aforesaid Complexes have become the vampire bats of out society at a time that many Americans have lost their jobs, their homes, their saving, and are still begging for a 4th round of unemployment benefits!
And there we are, throwing whatever $ billions our Intelligence Complex ask us for, while we lament the lack of money for full health-care, for prescription drugs, or for other social programs that even Cuba can afford. And, unfortunately, we are in wars now because wars have become a goldmine for those behind the scenes that
pull the strings of our civilian governments. And those lions-of-war get the lion's share for themselves, and leave behind only the stripped carcass of the largest economy on the planet for the rest of us! Would we remember that during the upcoming November elections? Nikos Retsos, retired professor

Posted by: Nikos_Retsos | July 19, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Here's a post I wrote lauding the project but asking for more disclosure about the certain data set you collected and then omitted at an agency's request.

Posted by: gordievsky | July 19, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

As we move into the knowledge base economy of mega-technology and leave the industrial revolution economy to other economies, this landmark program will have a profound effect on the nation in the future as practical applications enter the private sector.

Posted by: Beacon2 | July 19, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse


Has WaPo's preoccupation with bureaucratic process produced "can't see the forest for the trees" journalism? These "programs" include many programs of personal destruction -- a PURGE of American society...

..such as the covert multi- billion dollar cell tower- mounted microwave laser radio frequency "directed energy" weapon system deployed and operational all across America -- being used to silently impair and degrade the health and physiological and neurological functioning of extrajudicially "targeted" Americans -- including this longtime mainstream journalist.

Exhibit A: U.S. Patent No. 7629918, held by Raytheon Corp.



To help WaPo see the forest for the tress, please read these articles:
OR (stories lede stories and links therein) or Facebook -- Vic Livingston

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 19, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm completely stunned at the incredible number of racist and far right wing comments to this article. I don't believe that the Post did anyone any good by revealing this information and it seems that some of the nuts that the Government is trying to protect this country from are some of the radical right-wing racists leaving comments here. The current administration did not create this massive "Top Secret" element in our country. The Bush administration started it and while I am far from a Bush supporter, I do believe that much of it was needed. Of course, many of the negative commenters can't remember anything before November of 2008. But, yes - there was a Republican in the White House. And, he was the same guy that was reading "My Pet Goat" while lunatics were crashing jets into the Trade towers. So, don't blame Obama for all of this. Sadly, some of you need only look in the mirror to find out why certain information is classified - many of you are paranoid, dangerous, full of hate, and ignorant. You know who you are - YOU'LL BE THE ONES GETTING THE ANGRIEST OVER MY COMMENTS!!! I don't think that the Post did a good thing by writing this article, and I also think that many of you did a bad thing by pretending that you were smart enough to fully grasp it.

Posted by: LukeCage | July 19, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Washington Post: You have just made the FSB's job much easier. I'm sure they're proposing toasts in your honor in Moscow and especially in St. Petersburg, their training ground. Of course, the spooks in Iran are also singing your praise. Then there's the intelligence service in Pakistan. You're probably the darling of the Saudis now. And Hezbollah. And Hamas.

I will never again pay a single cent for a Washington Post anything. I will never again rely on this newspaper for any news--whether hardcopy or online.

Goodbye, Washington Post.

Posted by: HancockJM | July 19, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Looks like every wanna be James Bond government slacker is posting in defense of this outrageous waste of the taxpayers money. If you great Americans really want to help this country quit your jobs and quit wasting our money.

Posted by: metroman76 | July 19, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

"Any government which makes a policy of long keeping secrets from its own public is no longer working in the interests of the people...only criminals and tyrants require secrecy."
Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence.

Posted by: FriendofKeyserSoze | July 19, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Metroman76 - Just FYI, James Bond was a British Agent, NOT a US agent. It a small thing, but if you are ungrateful enough to criticize your fellow US citizens that help keep this country running, at least be intelligent enough to compare us to American agents. So many people like you treat Government employees like scum and dirt - and yet you speak like you love America, are you smart enough to realize that your GOVERNMENT is made up of millions of loyal Americans??? People that pay the same taxes as you and people who have families to feed and people that still put their hand over their heart during the National anthem. Quit taking the us vs. them attitude with your fellow countrymen!!!

And, Friend of KeyserSoze (Great name BTW!) Reasonable Government agencies need to keep SOME secrets. Everyone in this country is not loyal to America and many people are just not intelligent enough to fully grasp the things that some agencies keep from them. I see your point, but everything is simply not for everyone. Telling one American can sometimes be the same as telling a million Chinese, or a million Russians, or a thousand al Qaeda fruitcakes. It's not just a case of telling you or telling me... because WE can keep a secret, right?

Posted by: LukeCage | July 19, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

One of the major problems here in the US has to do with the fact that we are always trying to keep a competitive advantage. We're not only witholding information from out own people, but our negligence to the rest of the world creates the ignorance and tension that brings terrorists to our doorsteps.

Because of all the false numbers, many of us have this mentality that we shouldn't be trying to solve other countries problems because of our own, yet the amount of money is not the primary issue, nor is how we're spending it. The issue is how we communicate and exchange information with our people and the people accross the globe.

The reason this issue should be immediately and priorily addressed, is because the world is in peril as our natural resources fade away. So it's very important that we come together on a global scale, helping other countries to rid themselves of the corruption as we expose our own.

As long as we try to remain secretive and hold back, the world will also and our competitiveness will be our demise.

Money is a man-made material. And as the dollar pivots downward at an alarming rate, we must recognize that we can recreate currency. It's the failure to endow a universal attitude towards the end of corruption and righteousness for humanity that maintains our problems.

Without a doubt, as our energy crisis increases, and fushion and nuclear energy become more available and exploited, and we continue to ignore this need for right relationship between nations and information sharing, we will be in danger of nuclear war.

If we think very simply about what war is, that people who feel taken advantage of, underclassed, and poor, as well as value power and control, they will retaliate against any force, and the future forces that come to be.

Our need to create innovation and sell it to the rest of the world as we seep the money from our taxpaying public has fed a few greedy mouths while we all starve. With the war in Iraq to our side and growing crisis in Mexico, we will inevitably have to trade one war for another in a short time.

By keeping smart students poor around the country, we teach many of those who persever to value power and control, because that's the only way to get ahead. The society we built creates monsters as well as heroes because of the fact that it is our reaction to our experiences that makes us who we are. Look at Lee Harvey Oswald as a prime example. A man who has the desire to be someone important, without being taught that he is not bigger than the whole, obviously will fall to either side of the line.

The people at the top are either aware bigger problems are coming, or they deny it in which case they're still not helping the rest of us to find out. So without the real information and learning what to do with it, we won't be ready for what's coming in the future.

Posted by: st3jace | July 19, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Of late I had come to consider my Washington Post subscription to be waste of time and money. Then the Post produces this coup de maitre.

As an over 30 year`TSSI cleared contractor employee I have been fairly well positioned to observe the recent trends that Ms Priest and Mr Arkin have documented.

The IC bureaucrats who have and who are considering comments on this Post series should pause for a moment to remember that a major factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries was their leaderships' paranoid insistence upon secrecy, surveillance and intelligence collection. This became to them an end in itself without relation to any public purpose.

Many if not most of these IC bureaucrats and their contractor clients think that they have discovered the mother lode for their aggrandizement- fear and secrecy- and they're going to pursuit it to the end.

Let us hope that this Post series will prod our elected representatives to awake from their stupor.

Posted by: ashley31415 | July 19, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I have for some time been considering my Post subscription a waste of time and money. And then the Post produces this coup de maitre by Ms Priest and Mr Arkin.

For 30+ years I have been a TSSI cleared contractor employee unable to escape observing precisely the trends that are reported here.

Any IC bureaucrats or their corporate clients who are considering comments on this series should take a moment to remember the history of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries, where government insistence on intelligence- understood as secrecy, spying, and surveillance- played a large part in their downfall.

These bureaucrats and their clients, as did so many of their USSR counterparts, seem to believe that they have discovered the perfect formula for self aggrandizement: fear and secrecy.

I hope this series prods at least a few of our elected leaders to awake from their stupor to undertake some meaningful oversight of the erstwhile intelligence community.

Posted by: ashley31415 | July 19, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

The WPost should be ashamed of publishing the names and the business of our top secret contractors. This is about national security and the WPost had endangered that today. For no good apparent reason as far as I can tell. Here in Washington, it is no secret at all that there are hundreds of thousands of federal and private employees with top secret clearances. It is just plainly essential to protecting our national security, which has become increasingly difficult to do during the cyber age..hence the reason why we need to have so many individuals in the intelligence community operating under top secret clearance. I hope that the WPost and the so-called journalists who penned this article, published the names of these businesses, are found guilty of disclosing confidential "top secret" information and prosecuted to the full extent of the law for their grievances against the United States.

Posted by: hicksjonathan | July 19, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

I've been around for awhile. In the Sixties I had reasons to make trips into the hard line Eastern European countries, including Poland and East Germany. The commentors above who object to the WP overview investigation are mirror images of the fascistic Communists I met. Those militaristic, close-minded, bureaucratic dullards swathed in their anti-American patriotism mouthed the same phrases our hard right, militaristic, fake patriots use today. One of the problems with acquiring age is that you also acquire perspective. Unfortunately, the perspective on contemporary America is very similar to the fate of East Germany, Poland, and Russia itself: self destruction.The Gestapo and NVKD lurk behind barking patriots of all countries controlled by military minds.

And to anyone who knows anything about security, what is most evident is that those running our dysfunctional security programs today are completely ignorant on the subject. It's a group of bureaucrats building their childish (but oh so profitable) little militaristic empires.

Posted by: anonymot | July 20, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

Dana and Bill to score a Pulitzer for finding out just how many Ninjas can hide in a tree...Declassified Film at 11...

Posted by: jonque | July 20, 2010 1:38 AM | Report abuse

If the IC needed reforming, what made such reformation possible, given that it is accountable to no visible authority? And if the reformation was successful, how is that success substantiated when no problems were forthcoming and no specifics regarding reformation are either?

It seems that there is an air of "trust us" in the IC, although none of US know who the "us" are in the IC to trust.

What we DO know is the IC lies, deceives, and perpetuates propaganda to promote its agenda, which is hidden from the scrutiny of the American people.

The facade behind which the IC hides is "national security." This straw man is trotted out in virtually every defense and even during offensive measures in which the IC outright targets Americans.

When reporters and photographers are afraid to do their constitutionally mandated jobs of being the watchdogs of our government processes, that alone says something is rotten. And the IC put the fear of government into media personnel.

I find that odd that the free press is afraid to do its job. And when the DNI jumps out into the public limelight, I am eager to yell, "Sit down and shut up! No one elected you." The president is the head of the executive branch, not the DNI, a political appointee.

I'm not interested in hearing the propaganda and pats on the back with numerous unsubstantiated claims of protecting America against one threat or another. It's funny how it takes the most forward deployed military in the world to protect us against numerous phantom enemies that require ongoing conflicts, both covert and overt, since WWII.

The American people may not be stupid, but we are most certainly an ignorant people who trust a government that lies, covers up, conspires and deliberately deceives the public it claims it is protecting.

This first step toward uncovering the secrets and dark forces at work behind the executive veil and congressional houses has yet to walk very far down this road to truth and awareness before the first warning signal was fired by the soldiers of secrecy. Who ARE you people and how did you get to the point where you believe the American people are on a "need to know" basis depending upon what YOU decide we need to know?

The phantom enemies do not scare me. Our lying leaders do. And when The WaPo tells me "no one" in government knows the answers, that scares me the most. Not because no one in Washington knows the answers, but rather because my most trusted watchdogs of government actually believe that no one knows the answers.

That means I need new watchdogs. And THAT scares me the most!

Posted by: MikeGreen | July 20, 2010 4:18 AM | Report abuse

Dear @Sir, @Madam,
Thank you!
Yours sincerely.

Posted by: Mindcon | July 20, 2010 5:41 AM | Report abuse

Government enabled Greed. It's obscene.

Posted by: pmorlan1 | July 20, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

I think it is clear that the so called "intelligence community" is getting too big. What we need is a small group of consolidated elites running a tight and efficient ship.

Posted by: lohengrin | July 20, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

The beginning of the end of freedom in America began with the creation of the National Security State (NSS) in 1947. This
entity, as the Post series illustrates, has now metastasized to monstrous proportions and may pose a threat not only to liberty in America, but to other places where it continues to exist in the wider world as well.

As for the American experiment, it is now
officially dead. The three main actors in its demise were a corrupt and dysfunctional Senate, a runaway and extremist Supreme Court and the NSS.


Posted by: Coleen2 | July 20, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

1) Yes, it has gotten too big
2) Yes, it has redundancies
3) Yes, it is too insinuated with corporations that are doing the work supposed to be handles by Government

Let's grant those points. However, the analysis of the article broke down to early.

1) "Too big" is a result of confusing budgets requests and fighting within IC over who has lead. Look at the debate going on now whether ODNI has budgetary or hiring authority or whether Justice, DoD or Treasury has lead looking into how Taliban raises raises money via narcotics.
2) The corollary, about "redundancies" is a symptom of the former. CIA does not want to work with NCTC or ODNI. To do so means they "cede" their "subject matter expertise". Thus, the IC builds "fiefdoms" where there should be "communities".
3) To wrap it all up: The contractors and businesses were hired because the US Civilian and Government Intelligence Agencies laid off weapons experts and intelligence agents after the "Cold War" [from GHW Bush in '89 to Clinton to GW Bush in 2001]. So, to hire for the intelligence and manning gap, they looked to contractors to hire those newly laid off, because the US Civil Service Personnel System was too slow to replace them to meet the threat. *HOWEVER*, the contractors made too much money off the hirings, so multi-state defese contractors, awash with new defense contract money have no desire to have their employees made civil servants, and they lean on local Congressional Representatives to slow, stall or stop any budget or plan to federalize a "minimum" number of analysts/operators and end contracting those positions out.

Meanwhile, contractors and "lords" of particular "fiefdoms" [like State] complain about lack of information from other "fiefdoms" [like Treasury] and collude with still other fiefdoms [AFRICOM or DoD] to make sure a previous "fiefdom" [like Treasury] cannot get information or be involved in intelligence operations in another place. And they divide up the world by artificial boundaries (India and Pakistan are in two separate Military Geographic Commands) and artificial "subjects" (there is a funding stream for "counter-terrorism" that cannot be used to man positions for "counter-insurgency".
This is what happened with the inability to timely identify Mr. Abdulmutallab, not that there's too many people, but because there's to much fragmentation because Congress and the IC has been determined that there be no redundancy, no "ruffling of feathers" for their pet agencies, and no competition for who can provide the best services or information.

That is what WP should have reported, rather than to look upon the Hoover Dam and say "it's made of concrete", it should investigate WHY IT EXISTS in the first place, and DOES IT DO ITS JOB adequately.

Posted by: jebeasley | July 20, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

What I find amazing is that you can tell who are the Republicans on this board. First, instead of discussion the article, they immediately attack everything and everyone they consider non-American. How does singling out a ethnic group fix the bloated intelligence structure? Not all this country woes can be traced back to a non-White group. They are quick to defend anything that has Bush attached to it and nothing is their fault. They refuse to take the blame for anything. They will quickly pass the buck. Maybe if the first occupiers of this country had implemented a strenous immigration policy, then they wouldn't have gotten screwed the way they did.

Posted by: life386 | July 20, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Agree with jebeasley below. There is a lot of data here but this is not the real story. How many contractors, etc are in the IC isn't the important story. The real story and the real investigation that the WP should have done and be doing (but isn't) is "why the IC evolved the way it has" and is it "doing its job adequately". In the end, the bottom line is does the IC accomplish its mission and is it functioning effectively? How about doing a real quality and relevant investigative report now??

Posted by: dbmn1 | July 20, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

We talk about too much government and the budget deficit. Cut the military and IC and we will be able to take care of two vultures.

Posted by: dagumpster | July 20, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"an informed citizenry is the guardian of democracy."
d. d. eisenhower

Posted by: chicharrone | July 20, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

why is mrs. feinstein getting her intelligence information from a media source? this is the problem that i have with the intelligence oversite committee. they don't have a good grasp on what is really going on within these agencies. i especially have a problem with the contractors and intelligence / military black op programs that are conducting human experimentation. yet no one seems to be investigating people's complaints. in particular, what appears to be military grade experimentation of directed-energy warfare on innocent civilians. this reminds me of the many dismissed complaints of the veterans of the gulf war. it was not until it could no longer be held secret that those in the pentagon issued a statement.

regarding these electro-magnetic, directed energy warfare complaints... there are too many people with complaints to disregard this issue... and yet it goes unanswered and ignored. add this to the already openly illegal activity surrounding the patriot act and unlawful surveillance. now, we promote keith alexander, director of the nsa to a 4 star general and move him into internet security? has he proven to uphold the constitution of the united states of america? he's military.. he should have.

and yet mrs. feinstein has been opposed to the new intelligence bill which would put more oversight into what is going on within our intelligence communities. mrs. feinstein, you don't even have a grasp on information that has been gathered by news sources, and yet you wish to withhold further oversight?

mrs. feinstein, you need to step down. for the sake and security of our nation... some of which is at the hands of our own. i'm still waiting for an answer from our fbi director, mr. mueller regarding the questions asked of him in the anthrax case. a case he closed immediately following the suicide of mr. ivens. the senate oversite committee didn't believe all of his story. what's going on with this issue? who is holding him accountable? this is a matter of national security since some believe mr. ivens was not the real culprit.. or not the only one involved, which seems to be the position that patrick leahy held.

mrs. feinstein, you have a responsibility to the american people and this nation. it's obvious to me that there are problems with some of the top levels in our intelligence agencies. it is your job to oversee this.

neither you or mr. rockefeller are / were qualified to keep a close eye on these agencies.

this video proves just that.

Posted by: jmr12 | July 20, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

@ Mindcon

they wont listen to you...

seriously. someone needs to investigate these black op programs.

i've been getting hit with weaponry for over 4 years now. as a result i have all sorts of medical problems including multiple brain lesions. i am "zapped" on a daily, nightly basis. sometimes i can hear humming as i'm being zapped. sometimes my feet vibrate. sometimes i'm hit and i can feel the energy move up my spine and into my brain.. then "explode" i get body twiches, ear ringing & energy hits as i go into a dissassociative state. i was never like this 4 years ago. i have all the symptoms and then some, of directed energy / electro-magnetic warfare. i am a subject..

i've filed complaints with all the senators on the intelligence oversite committees. i've not received one response.


Posted by: jmr12 | July 20, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

"The reporting does not reflect the Intelligence Community we know."
One of the points of this series, isn't it? You don't know the Intelligence Community.

Posted by: mtmccollough | July 21, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

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