Monday, July 19, 2010

Outing Top Secret America

As reported here last Friday, the Washington Post has published "Top Secret America," the results of its investigation of "government documents and contracts, job descriptions, property records, corporate and social networking Web sites, additional records, and hundreds of interviews with intelligence, military and corporate officials and former officials." Dana Priest and William M. Arkin authored the piece.

Actually, today's Post article is just the first in a series and contains data and information regarding the size and expanding nature of America's intelligence community. Tomorrow, WaPo will detail the role of private contractors in the intelligence community and, on Wednesday, WaPo gets up close and personal with a profile of one "Top Secret America community."

Summarizing today's piece, WaPo has crafted the big picture, naming many of the key figures and facilities of the intel network along with discussion regarding the massive growth of the intelligence bureaucracy since 9/11. Billions of dollars have understandably been expended to assure America's safety. However, billions of dollars in the hands of bureaucrats who operate in secrecy has led to internal quarrel-based, some seemingly childish, turf battles and intractable restraints to communication and cooperation.

Examples are cited where lack of coordination and cooperation in the massive and expensive bureaucracy has "dropped the ball." In particular, the cases of the Fort Hood shooter and the Christmas Day attempted bomber are examined.

In a nutshell, it seems WaPo is sending a message to the intelligence community that, "Hey, you are too big, too expensive, too uncoordinated and nobody can check your work." To a greater or possibly lesser degree, I contend the complaint would apply to virtually any government bureaucracy.

Among specific concerns, the piece discusses aspects of security at intelligence facilities, I contend unnecessarily, and it identifies, by name, one contract company doing top secret work and, even though the information may be accessible from a public source somewhere, it now is readily available in the training materials provided to every jihadi and comrade of the "Kill America" persuasion.

Companion post at TJR.

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