Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. government has drastically increased its intelligence and counterterrorism forces. But according to a Washington Post report, “Top Secret America” has ballooned out of control.
The two-year investigation found that top-secret programs and employees have become so massive that no single person knows exactly how much money it costs or how many people it employs. Around 865,000 people in America have top-secret security clearance — more people than the population of Washington, D.C.
The Washington Post found egregious examples of waste and miscommunication due to the immense scale of the top-secret environment. Reporters Dana Priest and William M. Arkin write:
These are not academic issues; lack of focus, not lack of resources, was at the heart of the Fort Hood shooting that left 13 dead, as well as the Christmas Day bomb attempt thwarted not by the thousands of analysts employed to find lone terrorists but by an alert airline passenger who saw smoke coming from his seatmate.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Post that he intends to review these programs to analyze waste, saying,”Nine years after 9/11, it makes a lot of sense to sort of take a look at this and say, ‘Okay, we’ve built tremendous capability, but do we have more than we need?’ ” The Post will release new articles throughout the week, and the videos and charts on their website are worth a look.