Top Secret America: Post documents growth of intelligence since 9/11

Associated Press

A two-year investigation by the newspaper uncovered what it termed a “Top Secret America” that’s mostly hidden from public view and largely lacking in oversight.

(Read the full “Top Secret America” report here.)

In its first installment of a series of reports, the Post said there are now more than 1,200 government organizations and more than 1,900 private companies working on counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in some 10,000 locations across the U.S.

Some 854,000 people – or nearly 1 1/2 times the number of people who live in Washington – have top-secret security clearance, the paper said.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Post that he doesn’t believe the massive bureaucracy of government and private intelligence has grown too large to manage, but it is sometimes hard to get precise information.

“Nine years after 9/11, it makes sense to sort of take a look at this and say, ‘OK, we’ve built tremendous capability, but do we have more than we need?” he said.

The head of the CIA, Leon Panetta, said he knows that with the growing budget deficits the level of spending on intelligence will likely be reduced and he’s at work on a five-year plan for the agency.

The White House had been anticipating the Post report and said before it was published that the Obama administration came into office aware of the problems and is trying to fix them.

The administration also released a memo from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence listing what it called eight “myths” and intended as a point-by-point answer to the charges the Post series was expected to raise.

Among them was that contractors represent the bulk of the intelligence workforce. The memo put the number at 28 percent, or less than a third.

The memo said that 70 percent of the intelligence budget is spent on “contracts, not contractors.”

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/19/AR2010071901011.html

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