Friday, July 06, 2012

Top Secret America- A hidden world, growing beyond control

If you think you know all there is to know about the U.S. government and its various federal agencies, think again. The government that we knew prior to 9/11 has changed dramatically since that faithful day in 2001.

For instance, it has been interesting to stand on the edges and see changes in military communications since that day. We have seen a major overhaul in the VHF/UHF spectrum subbands that is used by the DoD. The 225-400 MHz bandplan from several years ago is not what we observe today.

If you would like to learn more about the hidden world of our government, I highly recommend you visit the Washington Post website and read the online article - Top Secret America- A hidden world, growing beyond control by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin.

Priest and Arkin conducted a two-year investigation for The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

The investigation's other findings include:

* 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.

* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.

* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.

* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year - a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.

There is also a very interesting online database that as a Milcom monitor you will find very interesting and useful at

I will have more on this from a monitors point of view in an upcoming issue of Monitoring Times magazine in my monthly Milcom column.