Patterico's Pontifications

7/19/2010

Washington Post Intelligence Series

Filed under: Government,Terrorism — DRJ @ 12:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Washington Post series “Top Secret America” exposes the “hidden world” of U.S. intelligence:

“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.”

Last week’s teaser suggested the series would reveal the names and locations of top secret military contractors, perhaps not only at home and in the war zones but elsewhere around the world. Please update this in the comments as you read the report.

— DRJ

48 Responses to “Washington Post Intelligence Series”

  1. This is the way her first series started back in 2002:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/09/AR2006060901356.html

    ian cormac (d407d8)

  2. Seems like Judas Priest has an axe to grind.

    ropelight (2f74de)

  3. Just wait…it WILL be Bush’s fault in the end.

    MJN1957 (d1de05)

  4. Well that goes without saying, we need all those buildings to run national health care, don’t you know

    ian cormac (d407d8)

  5. As one who has been in Afghanistan for the last year or so, I think this is a very valuable bit of journalism. The intel apparatus is way too cumbersome and sprawling, as is, frankly, much of the miltiary and the war effort as a whole.

    There’s a lot of money at play here, and often the quest is the money, not the mission.

    Moreover, some of what’s revealed in this report shows just how farcical it is. An Air Force unit so secret is has no listing, but a big welcome banner near its elevator in that building?

    Nearly a million TS clearances? 1300 government agencies tracking TS stuff, and more private firms than that involved in the process?

    This is not good stewardship of the nation or its taxpayers’ dollars. This is territory grabbing, dollar hording politics, plain and simple.

    I see it first hand almost every day over here — and I don’t even work in intel!

    Robert C. J. Parry (9b5012)

  6. An estimated 854,000 people. . . hold top-secret security clearances.

    As the joke goes, if everyone holds top-secret security clearance than no one holds top-secret security clearance.

    JVW (a52530)

  7. 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.

    I can think of an easy way to determine its effectiveness: Count successful incidents of terrorist.

    Dodd (d8078d)

  8. *terrorism

    /Grr. Argh.

    Dodd (d8078d)

  9. The problem is Dodd, this is always how it begins with Sy Hersh triggering the Church Committee, with
    the inquiry into Edwin Wilson leading to the Halloween Massacre the investigation in Guatemala
    to Deutsch’s purge, they more often cripple the only effective parts of the investigation

    ian cormac (d407d8)

  10. Priest is married to the Executive Director of the Center for International Policy, a far-left organization dedicated to lifting the embargo on Cuba, limiting our military assistance to our allies in the Western Hemisphere and their own unique brand of intelligence agency reform.

    ’nuff said.

    GeneralMalaise (26e9b5)

  11. Gee, so what?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  12. Things I do not want are include top-secret security clearance and scabies.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  13. No good can of this, I fear, look at these characters, and reserve the impulse to vomit:

    http://sweetness-light.com/archive/2-reporters-behind-the-wps-latest-leak

    ian cormac (d407d8)

  14. I guess if I wanted to car bomb some analysts, I could get them while they are idling waiting to make that left turn in McLean… but I doubt that I’d have needed this article to tell me that.

    SteveG (ce5f07)

  15. Things I do not want are include top-secret security clearance and scabies.

    and Orrin Hatch as
    next door neighbor but lindsey
    graham aok

    ColonelHaiku (26e9b5)

  16. #5 Robert C.J. Parry:

    As one who has been in Afghanistan for the last year or so, I think this is a very valuable bit of journalism. The intel apparatus is way too cumbersome and sprawling, as is, frankly, much of the miltiary and the war effort as a whole.
    There’s a lot of money at play here, and often the quest is the money, not the mission.
    Moreover, some of what’s revealed in this report shows just how farcical it is. An Air Force unit so secret is has no listing, but a big welcome banner near its elevator in that building?
    Nearly a million TS clearances? 1300 government agencies tracking TS stuff, and more private firms than that involved in the process?
    This is not good stewardship of the nation or its taxpayers’ dollars. This is territory grabbing, dollar hording politics, plain and simple.
    I see it first hand almost every day over here — and I don’t even work in intel!

    You’re right, of course.

    But what you see, in all of its ignominy, is capitalism at work. It’s messy, it’s wasteful, it’s redundant, it’s chaotic, it’s redundant, it’s expensive, it’s noisy, it’s uncouth, it’s cumbersome, sprawling, farcical, territorial, money grubbing, political, and, worst of all, it works.

    Human endeavors, by their very nature, are wasteful and frequently poorly executed things. And the larger the endeavor, like a war, the more silly and extreme are the farces played out within it.

    There is, within the cacophony, a symphony of purpose, of grandness, even of nobility, if you know where to look. Is it P.T. Barnum at Carnegie Hall? Of course it is! And our country has stumbled from one misadventure to the next in grand fashion, precisely in the same money grubbing way.

    The problem isn’t in stewardship, because we could, and certainly have at the moment, a government that believes in central control of all detail, relevant or not. The problem is in recognizing that sometimes the problem is best solved without it.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  17. I thought conservatives were against out of control spending, big govt invading our lives, lack of accountability of unelected bureaucrats, and govt waste & mismanagement? Or is there a blind spot for ‘national security’ where none of these rules apply? Where ‘classfied’ becomes code for ‘it’s none of the citizens’ business’?

    It’s about time, nine years after 9/11, to talk about whether we’re more secure with all of this or not.

    JEA (efd499)

  18. WE had a earlier iteration of this, when Brad thor warded off the attack of the Defense Dept network, like the contractors that helped free Times reporter
    Rohde from Pakistan, that were hired by, surprise, surprise, the Times

    ian cormac (d407d8)

  19. It’s about time, nine years after 9/11, to talk about whether we’re more secure with all of this or not.

    ColonelHaiku (26e9b5)

  20. It’s about time, nine years after 9/11, to talk about whether we’re more secure with all of this or not.

    It’s about time that
    we chat about the abyss
    between your two ears

    ColonelHaiku (26e9b5)

  21. JEA would do well to avoid topics like intelligence.

    JD (b812d8)

  22. Just Enough Angst
    he is the master blaster
    Boss with the Hot Sauce

    ColonelHaiku (26e9b5)

  23. But Haiku The Main
    Boy with the Joy Toy
    the Sultan of Smack

    ColonelHaiku (26e9b5)

  24. JEA, it was Democrats who pushed for the NIE bureaucracy with the new National Intelligence Director to supervise intelligence and replace much of the role of the director of Central Intelligence.

    Sheesh, again we are at the point where things that happened nine years ago are ancient history, and beyond the recollection of the trolls.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  25. I thought

    No, you didn’t. And that is the problem. You have just demonstrated less of a skill at reading comprehension than that demonstrated by a moldy peanut.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  26. JEA said:

    I thought conservatives were against out of control spending, big govt invading our lives, lack of accountability of unelected bureaucrats, and govt waste & mismanagement? Or is there a blind spot for ‘national security’ where none of these rules apply? Where ‘classfied’ becomes code for ‘it’s none of the citizens’ business’?

    It’s about time, nine years after 9/11, to talk about whether we’re more secure with all of this or not.

    I’m with you. Let’s start talking about it.

    How is the money being spent? Is it being spent wisely? Are we more secure? Who is making sure? What is being done under the veil of secrecy to assure our well-being?

    I don’t know. Do you? And if so, how do you know?

    What do you propose? I honestly don’t have the answers. I can only assume you do by the open-ended proposition.

    You may think I’m kidding. I’m not. Let’s talk about it.

    Ag80 (363d6e)

  27. EW(1)SG

    Ah, but government is NOT capitalism. That’s why conservatives object to it in most cases.

    But, far worse, this market DOES NOT WORK. Agencies that provide a poor product do not go out of business. Rather, they get BIGGER!

    I have worked as a consultant to a private firm in this industry in my civilian career. While they do take great pride in their service to the nation, they are also a business, more than happy to bring in additional dollars. And, while they care if they deliver a quality product to the tax payers for the work assigned to them, if the overall agency fails for reasons outside their control, that is not within the scope of their responsibility to their shareholders.

    The sad part is, while the Obama administration is unlikely to clean up this mess (they may slash budgets, but I doubt they’ll make the process safer), the vast majority of this took place under an allegedly conservative presidency.

    Robert C. J. Parry (9b5012)

  28. “How is the money being spent? Is it being spent wisely? Are we more secure? Who is making sure? What is being done under the veil of secrecy to assure our well-being?

    I don’t know. Do you? And if so, how do you know?”

    No, I don’t know.

    But I worry about rights being eroded in the name of ‘national security’. And I worry about a police state. I can easily see, especially in light of today’s political polarization, things degenerating to that level. I worry about who’s watching the watchers, who is or isn’t being told about their activities, who they answer to – if they answer to anyone, and who controls the reins.

    Conservatives were busy a few months back screeching about how the Democrats were going to put all of them in concentration camps.

    And to Colonel Haiku: the abyss is between your ears. I want to have a serious discussion. You, on the other hand, want to write moronic poetry.

    JEA (cfcb76)

  29. #27 Robert C.J. Parry:

    Ah, but government is NOT capitalism. That’s why conservatives object to it in most cases.

    But a great deal of it is: in particular all of the contractors.

    And that is where the really motivated and idealistic players come into the game.

    I agree, and said so above. While it would be nice to have selfless civil servants working in public service, the norm tends much more to the venal than otherwise. And it has since the founding of the Republic.

    Like I said, while there is plenty of waste and other stupid, at the end of the day, we are still standing.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  30. Oh, and another of Parkinson’s Laws, one that doesn’t get quite the play of some of the others is, ‘Government agencies in a Western democracy grow at a compound rate of ~ 5.85% to 6.15% per annum, irrespective of any workload or responsibility of the agency.”

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  31. But I worry about rights being eroded in the name of ‘national security’. And I worry about a police state.

    Lemme see now, which Prez was it again that set up an email addy so you could inform to the government on your neighbors if they said something bad about the prezzydent? Booosh, right?

    No?

    and who controls the reins.

    That would be the same guy that set up the email addy so you could inform on your neighbors when they said something bad about him.

    Conservatives were busy a few months back screeching about how the Democrats were going to put all of them in concentration camps.

    Really? Uhm, the conservatives are the ones with the guns. Remember? “…they cling to guns or religion …… a shotgun in one hand and a Bible in the other…” And the Brady Campaign is gonna round us up and do what, exactly?

    I think you are confused about what camping is.

    I want to have a serious discussion.

    No, you don’t. You want to demagogue, spout platitudes, and get a pat on the head for pretending to take part in a serious discussion.

    Come back when you grow up.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  32. If you’re so secure in your freedoms then I suppose we don’t need to discuss it after all. It’s like the govt would ever spy on their own citizens.

    JEA (cfcb76)

  33. The Post series, just like Phillip Agee did 35 years ago, dissects the US intelligence community,
    saving AQ or the Iranians or the Russians, the effort to do the leg work

    ian cormac (d407d8)

  34. I have concerns, too. When you have 854,000 people with security clearances, and who knows how many more without security clearances working with and for them, what need does Obama have of his “civilian national security force equivalent to the military”?

    nk (db4a41)

  35. I always find it amusing to watch the likes of JEA argue with their caricature image of conservatives, and savage an army of strawpeople in the process.

    JD (6ca166)

  36. the Wa Po series
    brings all together handy
    for one stop shopping

    ColonelHaiku (26e9b5)

  37. I don’t believe this should be a conservative vs. liberal issue. We should all be on the same page on this. I have faith in the American government but I want it confirmed once in a while.

    nk (db4a41)

  38. a hot wind whistles
    thru the barren JEA
    Cranial Canyon

    ColonelHaiku (26e9b5)

  39. Look there may be legitimate concerns, but we know
    Dana Goodfellow and William Arkin are not the ones who intend to raise them

    ian cormac (d407d8)

  40. Even a blind hog finds an acorn. The realtive personal strengths and weaknesses of the proponent are not necessarily a reflection on the merits of his message.

    nk (db4a41)

  41. Let’s read the whole series,
    With our bull**** meter turned on “High”.
    If it turns out to be a load of ****,
    Nobody will be happier than I.

    nk (db4a41)

  42. No, we’ve given them the benefit of the doubt before, they slandered General Boykin through
    selective footage of his speeches, they forced us to release AQ who are now likely plotting again,
    and curiously they showed nowhere as much interest
    with the health care juggernaut, that by omission
    they allowed to pass

    ian cormac (d407d8)

  43. I want them to be wrong. And so should everybody else. But on their content. Not their predilections. It’s important.

    Analogize it to a six-time contract killer who offers to testify against the mob boss for the prosecution.

    nk (db4a41)

  44. I’ll give her props on the Walter Reed story, although there was a certain slant in that instance, but one sees with Arkin, in a certain piece back in 2007, where he as much says the US
    military shouldn’t be supported, because they don’t support the people. This is more akin to a contract killer who fingers a cop falsely as a hitman

    ian cormac (d407d8)

  45. This is the column I was referring to with Arkin

    http://www.blackfive.net/main/2007/01/a_hearty_f_you_.html

    ian cormac (d407d8)

  46. Secret? Well, not so much anymore.

    ukuleledave (4e6cbb)

  47. JEA, you make up stuff to justify your own paranoia and detachment from reality. In that, you are rather typical of partisan Democrats these days.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  48. It’s like the govt would ever spy on their own citizens.

    Ya’ just don’t get it, do ya’?

    It’s the ones telling you that they are going to ‘save me‘ from being spied on that I’m concerned about. They are the party where “civil rights” trump human rights, not the other way around as you would have us believe.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)


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