Washington Post series on Top Secret America

The Washington Post is publishing an important investigative series on U.S. secret intelligence activities which are so vast and so out of control that nobody knows how much money is being spent, what it is going for or what use it is.

There are 854,000 people – nearly a million – with top secret clearance. Every day the National Security Agency intercepts and stores records of 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other communications which are separated into 70 different data bases. There is no effective oversight, no effective limitation on power, no effective limitation on spending.  It is, as Dana Priest and William Arkin say, a fourth branch of government.

Click on Top Secret America for a link to the series.

Click on The Real U.S. Government by Glenn Greenwald for a comment which sums things up very well.

We keep sacrificing our privacy to the ever-growing National Security State in return for less security.

When the 9/11 attacks occurred, the government had in its possession the information that would have enabled it to prevent the attacks.  The problem was that the government had so much useless information that finding the relevant facts was like looking for a needle in a haystack.  So in response, the government did not look for better ways of finding needles.  Instead it started piling up bigger and bigger haystacks.

We are told that as a nation, we can’t afford to pay unemployment compensation to the long-term unemployed, we can’t afford to keep the Social Security system going, we have to lay off school teachers and firefighters. Yet we can afford the equivalent of the East German STASI for surveillance of American citizens.

The answer we will get is: This is all necessary for U.S. security.  And we can’t tell you why.  Trust us.  And keep giving us money.

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3 Responses to “Washington Post series on Top Secret America”

  1. Jane Hickok Says:

    WHen I was working in clinical research and trying to decide what kids of information to be collected to proe a hypothesis in a research study, I was told that the information you want is not the information you need and the information you need is information you can’t get.


  2. Anne Tanner Says:

    I’m about to email a friend who teaches in Oman to see if she’s coming to visit her mom this summer as she usually does. I’ll bet that one gets “captured.” Maybe I should say hi to the NSA.


  3. philebersole Says:

    Update (7/26/10)

    My friend Anne Tanner e-mailed me these two relevant links

    Open Secrets by Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker is an appreciation and elegy for the vanishing art of investigative journalism, as practiced by Dana Priest and William Arkin.


    A Suspicious Form of Mentorship from the Boston Globe is a possibly unrelated (or possibly not unrelated) Pentagon scandal.



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