In the years since the September 11 terrorist attacks, Washington has built a vast, complex intelligence network, with a scope unmatched anywhere else in the world.
More than a dozen Washington Post journalists spent nearly two years researching and producing “Top Secret America,” which chronicles the historic national security buildup that followed the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Now, the conservative publication Canada Free Press is questioning the Post’s in-depth book and multimedia series.
Canadian Free Press writer Cliff Kincaid blasts authors Dana Priest and William Arkin. Arkin has covered government secrecy and national security affairs for more than three decades.
According to Kincaid, Arkin has “made it his mission to expose the means by which the United States defends itself, in order to disarm the nation in the face of threats from the old Soviet Union and international communism and now from global Islam.”
In short, Kincaid is working to discredit the work of the authors and the Washington Post by labeling Arkin and Priest as Communist sympathizers.
In reality, Kincaid is simply using the tired, age-old tactic of discrediting anyone that questions the effectiveness of a massive security bureaucracy – as Republicans have been doing since President Bush first decided to invade Iraq.
The global War on Terror, the war in Afghanistan and domestic security measures bleed money, resources and cost American lives. The Washington Post’s in-depth, skeptical look at the alleged effectiveness of our massive security infrastructure isn’t only necessary, but long overdue.
Did the Post Compromise National Security?
Despite Kincaid’s claims of the Post being soft on terror (he even ridiculously blasts Arkin as a proponent of a global Islamic power) the news organization is quite up front about its methodology.
But Kincaid is by no means the only one ripping the Post with claims that the investigation will only further jeopardize national security.
In truth, the Post granted access to several government officials to monitor content on topsecretamerica.com and bring up specific concerns about the reporting. According to the Post, only one government body objected to certain items, which were pulled from the site.
The aim of the project is to reveal:
“…an enterprise so massive that nobody in government has a full understanding of it. It is, as Dana Priest and William M. Arkin have found, ubiquitous, often inefficient and mostly invisible to the people it is meant to protect and who fund it.”
On topsecretamerica.com, visitors will find the headquarters of the country’s largest government agencies involved in top-secret work. Users will also learn which cities and towns where top-secret work is conducted, but the specific companies, locations and agencies are not disclosed.
In instances where addresses are used, reporters gathered the information from company or agency websites, information that is freely available to the public.
The Top Secret World We Live in Today
The piece aims to paint a portrait of the vast top-secret world in which we live today.
There is a far-reaching network of agencies and contractors involved in intelligence gathering. Here are just a few examples highlighted by the Washington Post.
–> At least 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies are involved in programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence housed in 10,000 locations throughout the United States.
–> Roughly 854,000 people hold top-secret security clearances. Since the 2001 attacks, 33 building complexes designed for top-secret intelligence work have either been built or are currently under construction – about 17 million square feet.
–> Many security agencies do the same work, which creates redundancy and waste. According to the Post, there are 51 agencies set up with the single task of tracking the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.
–> The massive yearly compiling of 50,000 pages of intelligence reports are routinely ignored, based on the sheer volume of reports.
The bottom line is that, despite accusations from groups like Canada Free Press that reporting on Top Secret activities is a detriment to National Security, the question remains whether the excessive waste and lack of oversight is actually a far greater National Security risk than anything else.Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com