Top Secret America

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Top Secret America

Postby jingofever » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:07 pm

Link:

Washington's intelligence establishment appears to be in panic mode over an upcoming Washington Post series about runaway growth in defense and intelligence spending.

A State Department email has accused the Post of planning to make public "top secret" information about defense and intelligence contractors working for the US, despite an admission in the same email that the Post's information came from "open sources."

The series, by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Dana Priest, will include a TV partnership with PBS's Frontline and is expected to consist of three articles and an online database of military and intelligence contractors and their projects.

It's that database of contractors that seems to be worrying Washington the most. Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy reports that the State Department sent out an email Thursday warning all 14,574 Washington-area employees of the upcoming reports.

"On Monday July 19, the Washington Post plans to publish a website listing all agencies and contractors believed to conduct Top Secret work on behalf of the US Government," the email stated. "The website provides a graphic representation pinpointing the location of firms conducting Top Secret work, describing the type of work they perform, and identifying many facilities where such work is done."

However, the extent to which the Post's information will be "top secret" is debatable. The State Department email goes on to say that the information the Post has gathered came from "open sources," suggesting the information published in the Post's database is already publicly available.

The email also tells employees they must "neither confirm nor deny" the claims made in the Post articles.

That line is echoed in a letter to "industry partners" from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In a blog posting entitled "Is Wash Post Harming Intelligence Work?", the Washington Times reprints the letter from the ODNI, which asks contractors to "remind all cleared employees of their responsibility to protect classified information and relationships."

Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic has obtained a memorandum from the ODNI's communications chief, Art House, in which House lays out what he expects to see in the Post series, and his predictions paint a negative picture of defense and intelligence spending over the past decade. House said while he "can't predict the content" of the piece, he expects it will draw several conclusions:

The intelligence enterprise has undergone exponential growth and has become unmanageable with overlapping authorities and a heavily outsourced contractor workforce.

The IC and the DoD have wasted significant time and resources, especially in the areas of counterterrorism and counterintelligence.

The intelligence enterprise has taken its eyes off its post-9/11 mission and is spending its energy on competitive and redundant programs.


House also lays out a strategy for an expected public-relations battle after the series' publication:

It might be helpful as you prepare for publication to draw up a list of accomplishments and examples of success to offer in response to inquiries to balance the coverage and add points that deserve to be mentioned. In media discussions, we will seek to garner support for the Intelligence Community and its members by offering examples of agile, integrated activity that has enhanced performance. We will want to minimize damage caused by unauthorized disclosure of sensitive and classified information.


And Foreign Policy's Rogin reports that the Obama administration is already refuting the Post series, even though it won't launch until Monday.

"A lot of this is explainable," an unnamed administration official told Rogin. "You want some redundancy in the intelligence community and you're going to have some waste. These are things we've been aware of and in some instances we agree are troubling. However, it's something we've been working on for a year and a half. It's something we've been on top of."

The official went on to say that "there will be examples of money being wasted in the series that seem egregious and we are just as offended as the readers by those examples."

Wikileaks seems excited:

Real change begins Monday in the WashPost. By the years end, a reformation. Lights on. Rats out.
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Re: DC's spy establishment in panic over Washington Post exposé

Postby wordspeak2 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:38 pm

I can't imagine that they're in much of a panic. I heard Priest on Democracy Now this morning and read today's part one of the three-part series. Not much substance in it. Lots more money going into intelligence, they're building bigger buildings, and it's not all well-organized- that's the gist.
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Re: DC's spy establishment in panic over Washington Post exposé

Postby Bruce Dazzling » Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:11 pm

"Arrogance is experiential and environmental in cause. Human experience can make and unmake arrogance. Ours is about to get unmade."

~ Joe Bageant R.I.P.

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OWS Photo Essay - Part 2
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Re: DC's spy establishment in panic over Washington Post exposé

Postby wordspeak2 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:11 pm

Well, maybe the next two stories will have some substance. I'm glad they're at least trying to do something. I'm sure they're up against some serious editing at the Post, too.
At least it would give pause to to the people who say, "Oh, to pull off a conspiracy that huge think of how many people the CIA must have! You think there's hundreds of thousands of secret agents?..."
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Re: DC's spy establishment in panic over Washington Post exposé

Postby Sweejak » Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:51 pm

Oh, I get it. They want a better totalitarian security state, like Obama wanted better wars?
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Re: DC's spy establishment in panic over Washington Post exposé

Postby Simulist » Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:54 pm

wordspeak2 wrote:I can't imagine that they're in much of a panic.

I can't either — but they would probably like people to think that they are.

That way, they can persuade people that the "reforms" that will surely be put into place were a "victory for the people" — when, in fact, any "reforms" will be no more than the "better totalitarian security state" Sweejak is talking about.
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Re: DC's spy establishment in panic over Washington Post exposé

Postby Col. Quisp » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:01 pm

At least it confirms that SRI is one of "them."

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top- ... ri&x=0&y=0


Company Name HQ Location Year Est.Employees Revenue Locations Govt. Clients
SRI International, Inc. Menlo Park, California 1946 2,001-5,000 $100m to $750m 5 8
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Re: DC's spy establishment in panic over Washington Post exposé

Postby DoYouEverWonder » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:49 pm

They're in a panic because people might find out they're all worthless pieces of shit.

Imagine what this country could accomplish if we used all this money and talent to do things that would make life better for people instead of chasing imaginary bogeymen?
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Re: DC's spy establishment in panic over Washington Post exposé

Postby 82_28 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:22 pm

DoYouEverWonder wrote:They're in a panic because people might find out they're all worthless pieces of shit.

Imagine what this country could accomplish if we used all this money and talent to do things that would make life better for people instead of chasing imaginary bogeymen?


There's a hell of a lot of profit in perception management. What they are profiting from, I don't fucking know. But I care. I care that my perception of the existence I lead ALWAYS has to fucking be filtered through their fucking numbness to the human condition. Since I am anxious and not numb I wind up fighting against neurosis. In some ways I would like to be numb. I would like to not be a useful idiot, not be sanctimonious, not be always in the claws of motherfuckers who are being controlled above them. I would love to not make snide comments. I would love to just have every motherfucker rise up and understand that unconditional love is our only route. But no matter. No matter how unconditional love is, no matter how much you fear for those you know and don't know, people only give a shit about themselves. This becomes contagious.

I'm gonna let you in on a secret about me. And it is this: I always know WAY MORE than the person I am talking to, but I also KNOW NOTHING about them. Thus, I know nothing. Thus I care about the person, entity, plant, animal etc. I don't care to know anything, but curiosity did indeed kill the cat. We can see what these braindead millionaire motherfuckers are doing. We're far smarter than them. But in their pocket, it is always ready to be revealed as fear. It's what they bank on. They can always fall back on it. It's their ace in the hole. They have the power to produce it. In any business, management is there to scare, not manage. People take the least serious shit more seriously than they must. And then they fight. Then they fill the void with hate where, had they never met or crossed paths, that hate would have never ever seen the light of day -- thus the system perpetuates and gives rise to the next time it must refuel.

They be refueling something though. This WP story is big news across the webs today and society seems more neurotic than I've ever seen.
There is no me. There is no you. There is all. There is no you. There is no me. And that is all. A profound acceptance of an enormous pageantry. A haunting certainty that the unifying principle of this universe is love. -- Propagandhi
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Re: DC's spy establishment in panic over Washington Post exposé

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:19 pm

ROBERT IAFOLLA

Penis Envy in the Intelligence-Industrial Complex
The Washington Post debuted the stunning first installment in its three-part series into “Top Secret America” Monday, based on a two-year investigation into the sprawling, out-of-control growth of the nation’s intelligence system. That network is almost incomprehensively vast, spanning nearly 1,300 government organizations and 2,000 private companies, Dana Priest and William M. Arkin report. The rub, they argue, is its size and lack of transparency make it impossible to tell if the system is effective or not.

More to the point, Priest and Arkin detail how the networks’ secrecy and redundancies caused authorities to miss red flags that could have prevented Nidal Malik Hasan from shooting up Fort Hood or Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from ever getting on a plane last Christmas.

The Post’s series, and its companion Web site, shines a rare light on this classified world that’s essentially large and autonomous enough to be its own branch of government. What I found particularly jarring is how primitive human instincts have played a key role in growing an intelligence system seemingly to the point of dysfunction.

The first instinct, obviously, is fear. Nine days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Congress approved an additional $40 billion to boost homeland security and go after al-Qaeda. At $75 billion, the current intelligence budget is two-and-a-half times larger than before the Twin Towers went down, which Priest and Arkin point out does not include an additional range of military and domestic counterterrorism programs.

It’s altogether reasonable that the government would spend whatever was needed to keep us safe, or at least to make us feel safe, after 9/11. But it appears the human instinct to seek status also fed the intelligence networks’ unprecedented bloat. “Fear has caused everyone to have stuff,” a three-star general told the Post reporters. “Then comes, ‘If he has one, then I have to have one.’ It’s become a status symbol.” A man running a business building high-security workspaces (known as SCIFs) said it was a “penis envy thing. … You can’t be a big boy unless you’re a three-letter agency and you have a big SCIF.”

This sort of status seeking isn’t reserved for the big swinging dicks in the world of espionage, intelligence, and the military. It’s just part of how we’re wired. Take Prius owners, a population arguably as far as you could get from those occupying the highest rungs of Top Secret America. Studies have shown that, rather than fuel efficiency or lower emissions, more people bought the eco-friendly hybrid car because of the statement it made about themselves — a status symbol, if you will.

I expect the next part of Priest and Arkin’s series, covering the government’s reliance on contractors, will explore how a third human instinct – greed –has factored into the intelligence systems’ expansion. Considering how some sectors of the military-industrial complex treat war like a racket, it’s easy to imagine some of the 2,000 private contractors in the intelligence-industrial complex behaving that same way towards counter-terrorism and homeland security.

Almost by definition, Top Secret America’s mutatation into an unwieldy behemoth has gone on behind closed doors. But this secrecy seems to have prevented the type of oversight to assure the right reasons motivate the creation of expensive new programs and the expansion of others. I’d submit that following base instincts like fear, greed, and lust for status is not the smartest way to build the system that’s supposed to keep the country safe.
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Re: DC's spy establishment in panic over Washington Post exposé

Postby kristinerosemary » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:59 pm

"Who can have a budget that's so great/ Who will be the 51st state..."

Old Tuli, he saw it.
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Re: DC's spy establishment in panic over Washington Post exposé

Postby Nordic » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:09 pm

I always thought the creation of "The Department of Homeland Security" was created for just that -- to create more corporate welfare, more ways to be corrupt, more revolving doors, etc. etc. etc.

A few years back there was a photo of some convention for these guys, these contractors, along with administrators from the Department itself. They were all lounging around a pool somewhere, drinking and basically partying together. There was something about the picture that made it quite clear what the purpose of the DHLS was. I believe Tom Ridge may have been in the photo.
"He who wounds the ecosphere literally wounds God" -- Philip K. Dick
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Re: DC's spy establishment in panic over Washington Post exposé

Postby thatsmystory » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:50 pm

RocketMan wrote:It's interesting how it has now become common wisdom that mass-casualty events improve a regime's "crediblity" (seemingly regardless of how it deals with them, automatically as it were). It remains, however, absolutely outré and beyond the pale to postulate in sophisticated circles that a regime/parapolitical class would strive to manufacture such events, or at the very least enable them to proceed in order to profit from them.


The Government did not fail to detect the 9/11 attacks because it was unable to collect information relating to the plot. It did collect exactly that, but because it surveilled so much information, it was incapable of recognizing what it possessed ("connecting the dots").

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Re: DC's spy establishment in panic over Washington Post exposé

Postby stickdog99 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:18 am

The entire Greenwald piece is must reading, IMHO.
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Re: DC's spy establishment in panic over Washington Post exposé

Postby Hammer of Los » Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:45 am

At least it confirms that SRI is one of "them."


Nice spot, Col Quisp.

:D
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