America top-secret

NOTE: For convenience of the reader the full document can be downloaded, with a single “click” at 100820 TWP America Top Secret.
After 11 September in the U.S. thousands of agencies against terrorism were born and the government has lost control. The Washington Post published in July a survey of Dana Priest, journalist and twice Pulitzer Prize: authentic “watchdog” of American power, with his colleague William M. Arkin.  At the center of the investigation the management of the war on terrorism.
Data are scary: more than 3000 private and government organizations working in the field of counterterrorism; they are located in 10 000 U.S. locations and more than 850000 people work within the apparatus and have access to confidential information.
Three series of articles have been published on the 19th, 20th and 21st of July under the title “America top-secret, a secret world that grows without control.”
In response to the Washington Post series the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has published two more documents

  • A Q&A regarding intelligence practices and reform efforts post-9/11.
  • Truth about Contractors dispels myths surrounding the Intelligence Community’s use of and relationship with contractors.

AOS consider these documents very useful and a real window to let better understand the “American approach” to the national security buildup: an approach totally different to that existing in Europe.
According to Hendrik Hertzberg of the NewYorker, “The story the Post tells is not about criminal conspiracies or rogue elements or corruption in the usual sense. No one’s dedication to the cause of protecting America is questioned. The tale has no villains—unless you count the pathologies of secrecy and bureaucracy and the panicky bravado that led the White House, Congress, and the public to frame the response to Al Qaeda as an essentially unlimited War on Terror. It is an exposé about a secret world, but it exposes no secrets. Interviewees who asked for anonymity did so not in order to “leak”—to reveal classified information—but to express judgments that their bosses and colleagues might hold against them. Virtually all the data that the paper collected in the two years it took to prepare the series was already in the public record”. (Full comments in
According to the Post, the investigation is based on government documents and contracts, job descriptions, property records, corporate and social networking Web sites, additional records, and hundreds of interviews with intelligence, military and corporate officials and former officials. Most requested anonymity either because they are prohibited from speaking publicly or because, they said, they feared retaliation at work for describing their concerns.
The series of articles describing Post’s findings about “the government’s role in this expanding enterprise”, “the government’s dependence on private contractors” and the “portrait of one Top Secret America community” can be found at, but the reading needs “too many clicks”.
For convenience of the reader AOS has collected them in a single document that you can download, with a single “click” at 100820 TWP America Top Secret.
To complete the picture, hereinafter the editors’ note on the project, the bio of the two authors (Newspaper team was quite important) and the references to the website where other info can be collected.
According to the Editor” notes, “Top Secret America” is a project nearly two years in the making that describes the huge national security buildup in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
When it comes to national security, all too often no expense is spared and few questions are asked – with the result 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. (dead all at .
The reporters
Dana PriestInvestigative reporter Dana Priest has been The Washington Post’s intelligence, Pentagon and health-care reporter. She has won numerous awards, including the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for public service for “The Other Walter Reed” and the 2006 Pulitzer for beat reporting for her work on CIA secret prisons and counterterrorism operations overseas. She is author of the 2003 book, “The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace With America’s Military, (W.W. Norton).
William M. ArkinWilliam M. Arkin has been a columnist and reporter with The Washington Post and since 1998. He has worked on the subject of government secrecy and national security affairs for more than 30 years. He has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books about the U.S. military and national security.

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