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Monday, July 19, saw the release of an investigative report by The Washington Post which concerns the health of the intelligence services of the US Government. The report is titled Top Secret America, and it has created a huge stir. Heavies in the intelligence world have already began to take issue with its findings. Top Secret America has highlighted the Intelligence Community, which is a proper noun evidently, as having a lot of inefficiency, waste, petty squabbles and disconnects throughout.

Top Secret America doesn’t paint a flattering picture

Top Secret America took two years for The Washington Post to put together. The number of new agencies, bureaus, and contractors working on intelligence gathering and analysis has exploded since September, 2001. Because the Intelligence Community relies on secrecy and non-transparency, the total cost of all these new agencies and contracts cannot be calculated. The report also claims the intelligence community is not well suited to efficiency, consensus, and lacks enough focus to be truly effective. Part of the piece is an interview with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who disdains the obstructive nature of the intelligence field in this manner.

Intelligence Community responds

There was a response issued soon after the report from the intelligence field. Director of National Intelligence David Gompert issued a press release blasting the report for not being truly representative of the work the intelligence field does and that they were continuously working on improving themselves.

The results of the report

The report may have a major effect, and it may have none at all. The nature of the intelligence business is that it is clandestine. If a spy operation goes well, the success of the mission might never see the light of day. There have, of course, been some embarrassing, miserable, almost tragically comic failures . The Bay of Pigs invasion, WMDs that  were never discovered in Iraq, etc. The Christmas bomber nearly pulled his plot off — after authorities were tipped off about him. The Fort Hood shooter was a Major within the US Army, and he had been in communication for months with Anti-American Muslim groups. Despite the public failures, some public successes would possibly restore some faith in the system.

Additional information at these websites

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/ (PDF)

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