July 19, 2010


Top Secret America: A hidden world, growing beyond control (Dana Priest and William Arkin, 7/19/10, Washington Post)

"There has been so much growth since 9/11 that getting your arms around that - not just for the DNI [Director of National Intelligence], but for any individual, for the director of the CIA, for the secretary of defense - is a challenge," Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in an interview with The Post last week.

In the Department of Defense, where more than two-thirds of the intelligence programs reside, only a handful of senior officials - called Super Users - have the ability to even know about all the department's activities. But as two of the Super Users indicated in interviews, there is simply no way they can keep up with the nation's most sensitive work.

"I'm not going to live long enough to be briefed on everything" was how one Super User put it. The other recounted that for his initial briefing, he was escorted into a tiny, dark room, seated at a small table and told he couldn't take notes. Program after program began flashing on a screen, he said, until he yelled ''Stop!" in frustration.

"I wasn't remembering any of it," he said.

...precisely because no one is ever going to see it. In all those paranoid movies where the government follows everything you do all day, it seems never to occur to anyone that each of us would require multiple agents observing us, who would each require numerous agents observing them, who would require....

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 19, 2010 4:50 AM
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