WaPo Brings National Security Info All Together in One Place and That’s the Problem

Posted on July 20, 2010


Dana Priest, co-author of the much anticipated report for the Washington Post on how national security in this country is handled was on CNN this morning.  Asked if her references to certain businesses and locations would be a breach of security she said that, in most of the report, she and William M. Arkin “fuzzed” up specific information about companies and locations.

You can “fuzz up” some of the specifics but the problem still exists:  Priest and Arkin have given a shape and function together with enough specifics (stats) that the animal itself has taken a form previously unknown.  They have brought it all together – packaged it really – so that all international intelligence bodies have to do is fill in the blanks.  Further, we did not need to know that one more aspect of our government could be characterized as being “out of control” at a time when we are at war on multiple fronts.”

I worked as an archivist too many years to know that in, say, a collection of papers for an individual or a corporate entity, if portions of the collection have been set aside or deleted by the creator, then the remaining papers all point to where the missing elements have been and, depending on the collection, allude to content.  That’s just how things go when giving even the most general outline to something.  However, it shouldn’t be too difficult to discover the “super users” referred to in this quote:

In the Department of Defense, where more than two-thirds of the intelligence programs reside, only a handful of senior officials – called Super Users – have the ability to even know about all the department’s activities. But as two of the Super Users indicated in interviews, there is simply no way they can keep up with the nation’s most sensitive work.

Gentlemen and gentlewomen spies: start your engines.  The race is on.  However, at the very least, now our own government, themselves now fully aware of their creation, will, we hope, be in hot pursuit.  Help for Secretary of Defense Gates has been provided:

There has been so much growth since 9/11 that getting your arms around that – not just for the CIA, for the secretary of defense – is a challenge,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in an interview with The Post last week.

Need help locating some of the buildings housing these departments?  Well, just so many buildings have been built to house this growing network and so a review of building permits for parts of West Virginia, Virginia and DC may help (if all are on file).  Google maps may help locate new construction.  Even a non-spy can figure some of this out.  Oh, and don’t forget to interview Vice-President Biden who is a good source of classified information.  It just drips from his lips.

The complete Washington Post report “Top Secret America…a hidden world growing beyond control”  is here.

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