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Top Secret America

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Today, the Washington Post unveiled a sweeping investigation into what they call Top Secret America, an expose on America's intelligence community. The website features a number of articles, interactive data analytics and listings of companies serving up contractors to various three-letter agencies. There are various spins on the information ranging from accusing the intelligence community of being bloated with contractors, inefficiently disseminating information, producing too many unread reports to simply being a drain on funding. The evidence is "based on government documents and contracts, job descriptions, property records, corporate and social networking Web sites, additional records, and hundreds of interviews with intelligence, military and corporate officials and former officials," most of whom requested anonymity.

Exposés such as this tend to have peculiar effects.

  • Uncleared Americans (and other generic readers) will assume they understand the intelligence community and can form valid opinions about it from the outside.
  • Politicians will be forced to posture a "concerned" stance to maintain the aforementioned population's voter confidence.
  • Efficiency will further decrease as inevitably deeper investigations transpire further distracting employees from performing their jobs.
  • As intelligence communities often cannot highlight their successes, they'll have to stew in a limelight in which they cannot defend themselves or justify their actions.

The less obvious question is whether this article was worth it? It's complete listing of contracting companies and locales essentially facilitates creating a terrorist or state-sponsored intelligence "hit list" by allowing third parties to correlate persons against geographic location, occupation, etc. to determine their involvement in the community and potential as a target. That amongst other security matters can severely endanger many American workers.

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