Posts Tagged ‘Secret intelligence budget’

Speaking of wasteful government spending…

July 18, 2011

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Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and William M. Arkin wrote a series of articles last year reporting on secret intelligence agencies, whose very existence is a secret and which are growing out of control.  It was great journalism.

Aside from the implications for basic Constitutional liberties of unaccountable secret surveillance agencies, aside from the implications for democracy of secret agencies accountable to nobody, maintaining this secret world costs a great deal of money.

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.

The Washington Post … 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. …

* 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.

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