The Washington Post has focused a big search-light on a booming new American industry: The TOP SECRET industry.
This industry encompasses “a defence and intelligence structure that has become so large, so unwieldy, and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, or whether it is making the United States safer.”
In other words, no one knows what the 850,000 American workers employed in the industry actually do (it’s TOP SECRET, after all).
But here’s what we do know, according to Dana Priest and William Arvin of the Post:
- Some 1,271 government organisations and 1,931 private companies work on Top Secret programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence at over 10,000 locations across the country. Over 850,000 Americans have Top Secret clearances.
- Redundancy and overlap are major problems and a symptom of the ongoing lack of coordination between agencies.
- In the Washington area alone, 33 building complexes for Top Secret work are under construction or have been built since September 2001.
Now, we’re certainly in favour of homeland security. But we are NOT in favour of paying 850,000+ people to do jobs that overlap, may be a self-sustaining waste of time and money, may or may not be effective, and are ultimately accountable to no one. Especially when we have a massive deficit and financial catastrophe in the making.
So, at the very least, we would ask our government to produce a chart explaining:
- What each of the 1,271 organisations does
- Who each of these organisations reports to
- How many employees each of these organisations has
- What SPECIFIC projects each of these organisations works on (and who assigns them)
- How many employees each of these organisations has and what the average cost-per-employee of the organisation is
- Who each of the 1,931 private contractors are, what we have hired them to do, and how much we pay them
Once we have that, we can begin to decide whether our money is being well spent.
Here’s a link to an overview video of the Washington Post’s series (2 mins) >
And here’s the first article in the series — National Security, Inc. >
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