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Top Secret America

July 19, 2010 by USA Post 

Top Secret AmericaTop Secret America:WASHINGTON – Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, the collection of top-secret information the government has become so complicated and costly that no one really knows what it takes and how many people are involved, The Washington Post reported Monday.

A two-year investigation by the newspaper to expose what he called an American “Top Secret” that is mostly hidden from public view and largely devoid of oversight.

In its first installment of a series of reports, the Post said there are currently more than 1,200 government and more than 1,900 private companies that work in countert*rror*sm, national security and intelligence in some 10,000 locations across the U.S.

Some 854 000 people – or nearly 1 1 / 2 times the number of people living in Washington – have security clearance top secret, the newspaper said.

Col. Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday the issue of redundancy within the intelligence community is a “well known” problem.

“We’ve been fighting two wars since 9.11 and a lot of growth in the intelligence community has come as a result of necessary increases in collecting such information and activities to support two wars,” said LAPAN.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates had already ordered the services and defense agencies to find cost savings in the coming years. LAPAN said the programs of the military intelligence, including its dependence on contractors, are expected to be part of that revision.

Gates told the Post he does not believe that the vast bureaucracy of government and private intelligence has grown too large to manage, but sometimes it is difficult to get accurate information.

“Nine years after 9 / 11, it makes sense to sort of look at this and say, ‘OK, we’ve built tremendous capacity, but we have more than we need?” said.

The CIA chief, Leon Panetta, said he knows that with growing budget deficits the spending level of intelligence is likely to be reduced and is working on a five-year plan for the agency.

The White House had been anticipating the Post and said that before publication the Obama administration took office aware of the problems and is trying to solve.

The administration also released a memorandum from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence list what he called eight “myths” and seeks to respond point by point the charges against the number of shipments expected to increase.

Among them was that contractors represent the bulk of the workforce intelligence. The note gave the figure of 28 percent, or less than one third.

The note said that 70 percent of the intelligence budget is dedicated to “contracts, not the contractors.”

“The contracts are for major acquisitions, such as satellite and computer systems, and commercial activities such as rent, food service, and maintenance of facilities and security,” the memo said.

The Post said its investigation also found:

_ On the outskirts of Washington, 33 complex of buildings – a total of about 17 million square feet of space – on top secret information are under construction or have been built since 9 / 11.

_Many intelligence agencies are doing the same work, spend money and resources on redundancy.

_So many intelligence reports are published each year in which many routinely ignored.

“There has been much growth since 9 / 11 to get your arms around it – not only for the DNI, but for any person to the director of the CIA, to Secretary of Defense – is a challenge,” Gates told the Post.

Online: http://www.washingtonpost.com

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