Pay No Attention to
Those Men Behind the Curtain of the Security State
By William Boardman
You Tax DollarsAt Work On You. by [Barricuda Brigade]
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR:
"Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of
millions of Americans?"
Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper: "No, sir."
On March 12, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence apparently committed perjury in his sworn testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. There is little likelihood of his being criminally charged, but we'll get back to that.
If it doesn't matter to you (1) that your government can maintain a massive data bank on your life and the lives of everyone you know, and (2) that there is no effective control on how the government uses its data, and (3) that your government lies about its capabilities, then there's no point in reading further.
Does Anyone Know the Full Scale and Scope of the U.S Surveillance State?
This issue is not just about the NSA, which is not the only surveillance agency within the Department of Defense, which is not the only federal cabinet department that gathers intelligence. Intelligence-gathering agencies also exist within the Justice Dept., Treasury, Energy, State, and Homeland Security, as well as the CIA.
Officially, the United States Intelligence Community comprises the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (http://www.dni.gov) and 16 other intelligence entities, most of them military, a re-organization established in 2005. The stated mission of the Director of National Intelligence is to "lead intelligence integration" of the other entities "that work both independently and collaboratively" to gather intelligence.
There is no easily available, reliable figure for the number of personnel in the intelligence community. In addition to the unknown number of intelligence personnel, there is an unknown number of outside contractors with an unknown number of personnel.
Top Secret Security Clearance Held By 1.4 Million People
According to Office of DNI report on security clearances in January 2013, almost 5 million people held one of three levels of security clearance as of October 2012. Access to the highest level of top secret information is limited to 1.4 million people.
In 2010, the Washington Post published a series of articles titled "Top Secret America" which described the intelligence community as "a hidden world, growing beyond control," written by Dana Priest and William Arkin after a two-year investigation:
"The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work."
Describing the intelligence establishment as "so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine," the Post found that it comprised at least 1,271 "government organizations" and 1,931 private companies, operating at some 10,000 locations in the U.S. alone, with top-secret security clearances held by an estimated 854,000 people in 2010 (about three times the population of Washington, D.C.).