It's official there are serious flaws in the US intelligence community. Why this is breaking news is anybody's guess, as the Bush Crime Family did everything inside (and often outside) its power after 9-11 to contort agencies to servethe Family'sgoals of global manipulation and domination. How often have we scratched our collective craniums over the need, purpose, or directives of the massive, expensive, ill-defined and fascistically-named Department of Homeland Security?
After 9-11 and the Bush propaganda blitz that followed, the American people were so thoroughly and systematically terrified they were willing to agree to any "enhanced" intel gathering if it promised even a hint of security. Even if our new policies and bad practices ultimately made the public less safe in the long run by antagonizing the Muslim communities of the world and serving as recruiting posters for al Qaeda. If our best agents cannot locate a six-foot-tall Arab hopping from cave to cave while tethered to a dialysis machine, what do we expect? Unless, of course, we're not trying to find him at all -- which is a separate discussion altogether.
According to a blockbuster article "Top Secret America" in today's Washington Post, the collective US intelligence community is "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" with its effectiveness "impossible to determine." The conclusions of the two-year report are particularly disturbing in light of the recent scandal involving Iranian nuclear scientist cum CIA-secret agent/defector/kidnap victim Sharam Amiri's claims that the US intelligence agency paid him tens of millions of dollars for his cooperation in Iranian nuclear intel gathering efforts. Which, as far as we know, shed no light whatsoever on the state of Iran's nuclear programs.
Your tax dollars at work, Truthseekers!
And increasingly, those monies are being paid out to private contractors (think Blackwater/Xe) who do not follow even the flimsy Bush-era-eroded standards of conduct expected from employees of the CIA, NIA, or Homeland Security. Thanks to this great piece of investigative work by journalists Dana Priest and William Arkin, the curtain has been pulled back on exactly how much of our money is being funneled into these suspect private businesses. The report includes a searchable database and nine pages of agencies and contractors involved in so-called "satellite" services. Finally, we can peep on the peepers!
It really comes as no surprise that the system is bloated, ineffective and fraught with abuse, redundancy and waste; and that it continues to expand -- unregulated -- with little oversight. Remember all that claptrap Raisin Brain spouted after 9-11 about our intelligence agencies failing to "connect the dots" that would have prevented that attack? That was the justification for the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, so the efforts of all the separate intel agencies could be unified and monitored. Wellll . . .not so much.
The investigation found what amounts to an "alternative geography of the United States, a top secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight." The report said some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States, with an estimated 854,000 people holding top-secret security clearances. And that doesn't count Dick Cheney's personal army of private spies.
Yet another mess the Bush Crime Family left scattered around for someone else to clean up. The Obama administration says it's aware of the shortcomings and (in its spare time) is making efforts to improve the system, but according to behind-the-scene reports, administration officials are panicked about the public revelations of the problem.
Just this morning, Obama's Acting Director of National Intelligence David Gompert released a wimpy response to the report:
"The (Washington Post) reporting does not reflect the Intelligence Community we know. We accept that we operate in an environment that limits the amount of information we can share. However, the fact is, the men and women of the Intelligence Community have improved our operations, thwarted attacks, and are achieving untold successes every day. . .We will continue to scrutinize our own operations, seek ways to improve and adapt, and work with Congress on its crucial oversight and reform efforts. We can always do better, and we will. And the importance of our mission and our commitment to keeping America safe will remain steadfast, whether they are reflected in the day's news or not."
"Untold successes," indeed . . .
If nothing else, this article should make for an interestingconfirmation hearing for James Clapper, Obama's pick for the next director of National Intelligence. Of course, if Clapper had his way, all surveillance would be left to that ultimate eye in the sky -- God himself. "There's only one entity in the entire universe that has visibility on all SAPs -- that's God," Clapper is quoted in the article as saying about the hundreds of "Special Access Programs" the various departments have running at the same time.
May He help us all.