Monday, July 19, 2010

Are You Reading . . .

. . . the Washington Post articles on the US intelligence establishment? "Top Secret America." You should. You'll be shocked. What I've seen so far doesn't surprise me, but it does give me the creeps. Bottom line up top: the intelligence operations of this country are monstrous, sprawling, expensive, and out of control.

Here's the lead paragraph:
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.
I spent enough time around "intel" people, both civilian and military, including "Agency" people--that's CIA for you uninitiated--to know that there's nothing specially intelligent about them. But, my friends, they are tentacles stretching everywhere across this country. There are almost a million--a million--people with top secret security clearances. Can you believe that? These operations are costing us taxpayers over $75 billion a year. Nobody really knows. An already bloated intelligence "community"--why we call aggregations of human beings doing anything together "communities" is beyond me, but that's another post. Anyway, the intelligence establishment in this country has tripled since 9/11. Think about that for a second. We had a monstrous intelligence operation before 9/11. Just how many people are employed in the secrets business no one really knows. They're military, they're civilian government employees, and of course they're contractors, who get paid very, very well. (SOP in the hiring of contractors for defense/intelligence jobs.) The bottom line of all this is that we really don't know too much of anything about what these hundreds of thousands of people are doing. What we do know is that you don't have to think too long to realize that these people have not been too successful for all those billions we pay them. They didn't predict the fall of the Soviet Union, they didn't warn about 9/11, the onset of the Korean War and the entry of China into it, the Christmas Day bomber, and on and on.


I'll have some more to say about this subject when I've read all the articles. Stay tuned.
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