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Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

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  • Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

    A hidden world, growing beyond control

    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.......
    This investigation is pretty massive in scale and the Washington Post has a rather large section of it's site with graphs, charts, lists, and articles. I'd highly recommend taking the time to read some of the information.

    Top Secret America

    They have also teamed up with Frontline to make a documentary about this investigation.

    FRONTLINE goes inside The Washington Post's major two-year examination into the massive, unwieldy, top secret world the U.S. government has created in response to 9/11. Coming fall 2010 to PBS.

    A major examination by Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and William Arkin is the subject of an upcoming FRONTLINE documentary produced by veteran producer Michael Kirk. The Post's two-year investigation looks at the top secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001—a world that has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that few know how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or how many agencies duplicate work being done elsewhere. Frontline.


    One of the most damning things about this Intelligence-Industrial-Complex - as if the Military-Industrial-Complex isn't bad enough - is that there are "1,931 private companies" or corporations that have contracts with the US government. And, it's all clouded in secrecy and terribly expensive, with little or no oversight being done by the Congress. It just illustrates the collusion of corporate America and big government, who in turn protect each others vested interest to keep the money and profits rolling, all at the expense of the US taxpayer.
    |TG-X| mp40x



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  • #2
    Re: Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

    While that is a pattern that is consistent throughout US history (see corn and other industries manipulation of the government) the secrecy and lack of oversight is extremely concerning.
    |TG-6th|Snooggums

    Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

      I don't anybody would mind the cost if we knew there were results being achieved, but at the same token, you can't talk about fight club.
      Wait !
      I know, what if we elected a bunch of people to oversee the process.
      Oh snap, we already did that.
      Oh well.
      You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
      So that when they turn their backs on you,
      You'll get the chance to put the knife in.Pink Floyd "Dogs"

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

        Looking forward to watching it when it comes out.

        While that is a pattern that is consistent throughout US history (see corn and other industries manipulation of the government) the secrecy and lack of oversight is extremely concerning.
        What's more worrisome for me, is that the military and policymakers are pursuing 'full spectrum dominance', which is essentially a plan to militarily dominate every continent on earth. I see this issue as a natural outgrowth of that movement. For those who like this sort of topic matter, this is a pretty interesting book to get:

        http://www.amazon.com/Full-Spectrum-...9644755&sr=8-1
        Like the server? Become a regular! TGNS Required Reading
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        • #5
          Re: Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

          For every fear, there are opportunists waiting on the sideline to peddle a cure. In environmental circles, fears of anthropogenic climate change has spurred massive investments in 'green' technologies. 'Security' contractors and upstart agencies are nothing more than a placebo for the terror that still grips America. Am I surprised to learn that 0.03% of Americans live and work in this world? Not in the least. Just having conversations with people on Vent/TS across a variety of games has reinforced to me how deeply this thing goes. Almost everybody I talk to is themselves, or knows somebody personally involved on some level of the Military Industrial Complex. Is this shocking or horrifying? Not really, no. We owe this system for prevailing in the last world war, sustaining our economic and political interests in the face of soviet expansionism and for providing us through various research projects pretty much every gadget we use in our lives.

          This new construct of 'top secret' clearances doled out like gruel in a food line just reinforces how deeply paranoid western nations have become and how much technology and widespread information has changed our world. In the 1400s, discovering who was in the pay of the monarchy would be difficult, if not impossible including for the monarch. Now, two journalists can use open-source information (from which 90% of intelligence is produced) to determine the vast scope of the defence/security industry in the post-911 world.

          The honest truth is that these are preparations not only for the eventualities of 'terror' but the very real threats of widespread civil unrest and catastrophic global conflict which most of the workaday population ignores or remains blissfully ignorant of. I'm just not sure what it is that marks certain citizens for these jobs and prevents others from doing the same. I still have yet to figure out exactly how somebody gets a job doing this sort of thing. It seems very competitive and yet I'm somehow curious as to whether that million persons all hold technical degrees, are university graduates or are mostly high-school educated line-towers who upgraded from being mall-cops.

          I'm also curious as to whether in light of the economic situation, there are efforts at a federal level to downsize this 'fatted calf' industry. I would suspect that any attempt to gut security or intelligence agencies would result in some covert or overt resistance on multiple fronts. I think it was Tom Clancy in a CNN interview who attributed the intelligence failings of 9/11 to Democratic politicians that downsized the CIA budget. Convincing a nation that it needs to be less secure is no easy task. The other alternative is to use the existing infrastructure and build a massive nexus of state or individual control, using the new tools of internal awareness to create a permanent wartime economy without externalizing the target of defence spending. I'll let those of you who understand what I'm saying there, think that one over.


          If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles.
          -Carl Von Clausewitz



          'The Great Game' -Blog on War in Afghanistan:

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

            Reminds me of the Robot Chicken skit (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LIAeHr3YaA) delivered in the form of 1940s war propaganda, justifying everything with a resounding "TERRORISM!"

            I've always had a great deal of skepticism to the value of excessive numbers of secret projects outside of an actual world war. Yes, 9/11 was bad...but they flew planes into buildings, a relatively uncomplicated plot as compared to say, sticking nukes in Cuba or sneaking U-boats to just off the Eastern seaboard. Ah well.

            *FFS. I don't want to embed the video, just let me place it as a url.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

              I think it was Tom Clancy in a CNN interview who attributed the intelligence failings of 9/11 to Democratic politicians that downsized the CIA budget.
              Jamie Gorelick
              Coincidentally , a member of the 9/11 Commission.
              Prior to that it was the Church Committee.




              BTW:

              I don't think that is an official release of policy from the government.
              You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
              So that when they turn their backs on you,
              You'll get the chance to put the knife in.Pink Floyd "Dogs"

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

                Originally posted by Flarfignuggen View Post
                Reminds me of the Robot Chicken skit (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LIAeHr3YaA) delivered in the form of 1940s war propaganda, justifying everything with a resounding "TERRORISM!"

                I've always had a great deal of skepticism to the value of excessive numbers of secret projects outside of an actual world war. Yes, 9/11 was bad...but they flew planes into buildings, a relatively uncomplicated plot as compared to say, sticking nukes in Cuba or sneaking U-boats to just off the Eastern seaboard. Ah well.

                *FFS. I don't want to embed the video, just let me place it as a url.
                But that just reduces the threat itself to a joke, and despite the missteps and hyperbole of the government, there really are terrorists out there.
                You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
                So that when they turn their backs on you,
                You'll get the chance to put the knife in.Pink Floyd "Dogs"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

                  Originally posted by Flarfignuggen View Post
                  but they flew planes into buildings, a relatively uncomplicated plot..

                  ???? Uncomplicated? Care to explain?

                  I deserve a ribbon for Mortar Specialist

                  Artillery conquers and infantry occupies.
                  J.F.C. Fuller

                  Proud to have been a member of the 5th, 71st and my beloved 19th

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

                    Originally posted by HiTestFest View Post
                    ???? Uncomplicated? Care to explain?
                    It was a plot that was known as plausible by the existing anti-terrorism agencies in the US at the time and is as complicated as ramming a store with a car. The execution was pretty simple too, board flight, strong arm a plane that had been taught to comply with terrorists due to it being successful in the past and replace the pilot with one that may not even know how to land but how to point a plane at a large object.

                    Just because it was unexpected or unprecedented on that scale doesn't mean it was complicated.
                    |TG-6th|Snooggums

                    Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

                      Originally posted by Hank Rearden View Post
                      I'm also curious as to whether in light of the economic situation, there are efforts at a federal level to downsize this 'fatted calf' industry. I would suspect that any attempt to gut security or intelligence agencies would result in some covert or overt resistance on multiple fronts. I think it was Tom Clancy in a CNN interview who attributed the intelligence failings of 9/11 to Democratic politicians that downsized the CIA budget. Convincing a nation that it needs to be less secure is no easy task. The other alternative is to use the existing infrastructure and build a massive nexus of state or individual control, using the new tools of internal awareness to create a permanent wartime economy without externalizing the target of defence spending. I'll let those of you who understand what I'm saying there, think that one over.
                      Very good post overall, but I want to discuss this paragraph in particular. It is very difficult to discuss downsizing this "industry" while avoiding being painted as being "soft on terrorism", therefore it becomes difficult for any politician to broach this topic and run for re-election. I would really be curious to see some breakdowns on PAC monies received by elected officials from these "private contractors" or their parent companies where the elected officials have some type of authority over the budgets or any kind of ties the elected officials might have with these private contractors or their parent companies.

                      I have more to say about this, but I'm out of time right now.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

                        Originally posted by snooggums View Post
                        It was a plot that was known as plausible by the existing anti-terrorism agencies in the US at the time and is as complicated as ramming a store with a car. The execution was pretty simple too, board flight, strong arm a plane that had been taught to comply with terrorists due to it being successful in the past and replace the pilot with one that may not even know how to land but how to point a plane at a large object.

                        Just because it was unexpected or unprecedented on that scale doesn't mean it was complicated.
                        They still had to learn how to fly a plane and as you say "point" it in the direction.
                        Comparing it to driving a car thru a store is abit ridiculous and a tad insulting

                        I deserve a ribbon for Mortar Specialist

                        Artillery conquers and infantry occupies.
                        J.F.C. Fuller

                        Proud to have been a member of the 5th, 71st and my beloved 19th

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

                          Flying a plane that is already in the air isn't hard, I've flown a small prop plane with zero training with someone talking me through it and it handled just like a computer sim, turn and point isn't hard and a larger plane wold simply require some actual training just like I would require some training to drive a Formula 1 race car. In air flight was the extent of the real training that the terrorists did complete, they skipped the landing training since they didn't need it. Since they didn't need to know how to take off or land, all they needed to know was how not to stall and how get a general feel for how a large airliner responds to input since they didn't need to be going a specific speed and had hundreds of feet of altitude they could be in for flying into the two towers.

                          Not even counting the flying the plane itself was the original item stated as not complex and that is correct. Board as regular people and strong arm control to willing participants who have been taught not to resist. Note that the very simple plan failed on the plane where there was resistance, as that plane ended up crashing in a field.
                          |TG-6th|Snooggums

                          Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

                            This video I have linked the bottom is interesting, particularly the last 2 1/2 minutes. There's the ground effect issue at the pentagon, but more than that, a former U.S. Air Force pilot - who had personally flown two of the 9/11 planes in his life said he "could not do it" and is "absolutely positive they couldn't do it." That leads me to think it must have been decidedly harder than ramming a car into a building.
                            http://www.youtube.com/
                            watch?v=JTJehfQkuyE&feature=player_embedded
                            I broke it so it doesn't embed.

                            sigpic
                            "The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying
                            something which is not everything it should be." Edgar Allan Poe

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Top Secret America: A Washington Post Investigation

                              Thats one unskilled AF pilot if he can't direct a plane into a building. It is -not- hard to take a plan off auto and rudder down a bit into a building. This is not rocket science. Heck, a couple days worth of MS Flight Sim and the manual would be enough to know what buttons are where.

                              There was a mythbusters episode where both Jamie and Adam were able to land a passenger plane untrained in a simulator just by the voice direction of an ATC as guidance.

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