WaPo Investigation Delves Into America's National Security Infrastructure

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Jul 19, 2010 8:40 AM
It's an important piece, highlighting the extent to which national security operations here in the U.S. have become disorganized, overly-complicated, and expensive.
  • 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.
At 5,500 words, the piece could be a game-changer. But it's also raised concerns that top secret information could be at stake. I'm not sure about that — the piece does reveal the locations of several anti-terrorism / national security buildings, but that information would be readily available to anyone with a car and map. It does reveal frustrations that senior intelligence officers have with the current system, but they don't speak specifically about pieces of information that have bothered them.