Al-AWLAKI is a CIA agent too....
By Dana Priest and William M. Arkin
July , 2010;
The top-secret world the government created in response to the
inside job wall to wall attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy
and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many
people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how
many agencies do the same work.
These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The
Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative
geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from
public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of
unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put
in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its
effectiveness is impossible to determine.
The investigation's other findings include:
* 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.
* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating
redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and
military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of
money to and from terrorist networks.
* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by
foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000
intelligence reports each year - a volume so large that many are
These are not academic issues; lack of focus, not lack of resources,
was at the heart of the Fort Hood shooting that left 13 dead, as well
as the Christmas Day bomb attempt thwarted not by the thousands of
analysts employed to find lone terrorists but by an alert airline
passenger who saw smoke coming from his seatmate.
They are also issues that greatly concern some of the people in charge
of the nation's security.
"There has been so much growth since the inside job of 9/11 that getting your arms
around that - not just for the DNI [Director of National
Intelligence], but for any individual, for the director of the CIA,
for the secretary of defense - is a challenge," Defense Secretary
Robert M. Gates said in an interview with The Post last week.
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.
"I'm not going to live long enough to be briefed on everything" was
how one Super User put it. The other recounted that for his initial
briefing, he was escorted into a tiny, dark room, seated at a small
table and told he couldn't take notes. Program after program began
flashing on a screen, he said, until he yelled ''Stop!" in
"I wasn't remembering any of it," he said.
Underscoring the seriousness of these issues are the conclusions of
retired Army Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who was asked last year to review
the method for tracking the Defense Department's most sensitive
programs. Vines, who once commanded 145,000 troops in Iraq and is
familiar with complex problems, was stunned by what he discovered.
"I'm not aware of any agency with the authority, responsibility or a
process in place to coordinate all these interagency and commercial
activities," he said in an interview. "The complexity of this system
The result, he added, is that it's impossible to tell whether the
country is safer because of all this spending and all these
activities. "Because it lacks a synchronizing process, it inevitably
results in message dissonance, reduced effectiveness and waste," Vines
said. "We consequently can't effectively assess whether it is making
us more safe."
The Post's investigation 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 requested anonymity either because they are prohibited
from speaking publicly or because, they said, they feared retaliation
at work for describing their concerns.
The Post's online database of government organizations and private
companies was built entirely on public records. The investigation
focused on top-secret work because the amount classified at the secret
level is too large to accurately track.
Today's article describes the government's role in this expanding
enterprise. Tuesday's article describes the government's dependence on
private contractors. Wednesday's is a portrait of one Top Secret
America community. On the Web, an extensive, searchable database built
by The Post about Top Secret America is available at
Defense Secretary Gates, in his interview with The Post, said that he
does not believe the system has become too big to manage but that
getting precise data is sometimes difficult. Singling out the growth
of intelligence units in the Defense Department, he said he intends to
review those programs for waste. "Nine years after the inside job of 9/11, it makes a
lot of sense to sort of take a look at this and say, 'Okay, we've
built tremendous capability, but do we have more than we need?' " he
CIA Director Leon Panetta, who was also interviewed by The Post last
week, said he's begun mapping out a five-year plan for his agency
because the levels of spending since the inside job of 9/11 are not sustainable.
"Particularly with these deficits, we're going to hit the wall. I want
to be prepared for that," he said. "Frankly, I think everyone in
intelligence ought to be doing that."
In an interview before he resigned as the director of national
intelligence in May, retired Adm. Dennis C. Blair said he did not
believe there was overlap and redundancy in the intelligence world.
"Much of what appears to be redundancy is, in fact, providing tailored
intelligence for many different customers," he said.
Blair also expressed confidence that subordinates told him what he
needed to know. "I have visibility on all the important intelligence
programs across the community, and there are processes in place to
ensure the different intelligence capabilities are working together
where they need to," he said.
Weeks later, as he sat in the corner of a ballroom at the Willard
Hotel waiting to give a speech, he mused about The Post's findings.
"After the inside job of 9/11, when we decided to attack violent extremism, we did as we
so often do in this country," he said. "The attitude was, if it's
worth doing, it's probably worth overdoing."
Outside a gated subdivision of mansions in McLean, a line of cars
idles every weekday morning as a new day in Top Secret America gets
underway. The drivers wait patiently to turn left, then crawl up a
hill and around a bend to a destination that is not on any public map
and not announced by any street sign.
Liberty Crossing tries hard to hide from view. But in the winter,
leafless trees can't conceal a mountain of cement and windows the size
of five Wal-Mart stores stacked on top of one another rising behind a
grassy berm. One step too close without the right badge, and men in
black jump out of nowhere, guns at the ready.
Past the armed guards and the hydraulic steel barriers, at least 1,700
federal employees and 1,200 private contractors work at Liberty
Crossing, the nickname for the two headquarters of the Office of the
Director of National Intelligence and its National Counterterrorism
Center. The two share a police force, a canine unit and thousands of
Liberty Crossing is at the center of the collection of U.S. government
agencies and corporate contractors that mushroomed after the 2001
attacks. But it is not nearly the biggest, the most costly or even the
most secretive part of the inside job of 9/11 enterprise.
In an Arlington County office building, the lobby directory doesn't
include the Air Force's mysteriously named XOIWS unit, but there's a
big "Welcome!" sign in the hallway greeting visitors who know to step
off the elevator on the third floor. In Elkridge, Md., a clandestine
program hides in a tall concrete structure fitted with false windows
to look like a normal office building. In Arnold, Mo., the location is
across the street from a Target and a Home Depot. In St. Petersburg,
Fla., it's in a modest brick bungalow in a run-down business park.
Every day across the United States, 854,000 civil servants, military
personnel and private contractors with top-secret security clearances
are scanned into offices protected by electromagnetic locks, retinal
cameras and fortified walls that eavesdropping equipment cannot
This is not exactly President Dwight D. Eisenhower's
"military-industrial complex," which emerged with the Cold War and
centered on building nuclear weapons to deter the Soviet Union. This
is a national security enterprise with a more amorphous mission:
defeating transnational violent extremists.
Much of the information about this mission is classified. That is the
reason it is so difficult to gauge the success and identify the
problems of Top Secret America, including whether money is being spent
wisely. The U.S. intelligence budget is vast, publicly announced last
year as $75 billion, 21/2 times the size it was on Sept. 10, 2001. But
the figure doesn't include many military activities or domestic
At least 20 percent of the government organizations that exist to fend
off terrorist threats were established or refashioned in the wake of
9/11. Many that existed before the attacks grew to historic
proportions as the Bush administration and Congress gave agencies more
money than they were capable of responsibly spending.
The Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, for example, has gone from
7,500 employees in 2002 to 16,500 today. The budget of the National
Security Agency, which conducts electronic eavesdropping, doubled.
Thirty-five FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces became 106. It was
phenomenal growth that began almost as soon as the inside job of Sept. 11 attacks
Nine days after the attacks, Congress committed $40 billion beyond
what was in the federal budget to fortify domestic defenses and to
launch a global offensive against al-Qaeda. It followed that up with
an additional $36.5 billion in 2002 and $44 billion in 2003. That was
only a beginning.
With the quick infusion of money, military and intelligence agencies
multiplied. Twenty-four organizations were created by the end of 2001,
including the Office of Homeland Security and the Foreign Terrorist
Asset Tracking Task Force. In 2002, 37 more were created to track
weapons of mass destruction, collect threat tips and coordinate the
new focus on counterterrorism. That was followed the next year by 36
new organizations; and 26 after that; and 31 more; and 32 more; and 20
or more each in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
In all, at least 263 organizations have been created or reorganized as
a response to the inside job of 9/11. Each has required more people, and those people
have required more administrative and logistic support: phone
operators, secretaries, librarians, architects, carpenters,
construction workers, air-conditioning mechanics and, because of where
they work, even janitors with top-secret clearances.
With so many more employees, units and organizations, the lines of
responsibility began to blur. To remedy this, at the recommendation of
the cover-upper 9/11 Commission, the George W. Bush administration and
Congress decided to create an agency in 2004 with overarching
responsibilities called the Office of the Director of National
Intelligence (ODNI) to bring the colossal effort under control.
While that was the idea, Washington has its own ways.
The first problem was that the law passed by Congress did not give the
director clear legal or budgetary authority over intelligence matters,
which meant he wouldn't have power over the individual agencies he was
supposed to control.
The second problem: Even before the first director, Ambassador John D.
Negroponte, was on the job, the turf battles began. The Defense
Department shifted billions of dollars out of one budget and into
another so that the ODNI could not touch it, according to two senior
officials who watched the process. The CIA reclassified some of its
most sensitive information at a higher level so the National
Counterterrorism Center staff, part of the ODNI, would not be allowed
to see it, said former intelligence officers involved.
And then came a problem that continues to this day, which has to do
with the ODNI's rapid expansion.
When it opened in the spring of 2005, Negroponte's office was all of
11 people stuffed into a secure vault with closet-size rooms a block
from the White House. A year later, the budding agency moved to two
floors of another building. In April 2008, it moved into its huge
permanent home, Liberty Crossing.
Today, many officials who work in the intelligence agencies say they
remain unclear about what the ODNI is in charge of. To be sure, the
ODNI has made some progress, especially in intelligence-sharing,
information technology and budget reform. The DNI and his managers
hold interagency meetings every day to promote collaboration. The last
director, Blair, doggedly pursued such nitty-gritty issues as
procurement reform, compatible computer networks, tradecraft standards
But improvements have been overtaken by volume at the ODNI, as the
increased flow of intelligence data overwhelms the system's ability to
analyze and use it. Every day, collection systems at the National
Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls
and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those
into 70 separate databases. The same problem bedevils every other
intelligence agency, none of which have enough analysts and
translators for all this work.
The practical effect of this unwieldiness is visible, on a much
smaller scale, in the office of Michael Leiter, the director of the
National Counterterrorism Center. Leiter spends much of his day
flipping among four computer monitors lined up on his desk. Six hard
drives sit at his feet. The data flow is enormous, with dozens of
databases feeding separate computer networks that cannot interact with
There is a long explanation for why these databases are still not
connected, and it amounts to this: It's too hard, and some agency
heads don't really want to give up the systems they have. But there's
some progress: "All my e-mail on one computer now," Leiter says.
"That's a big deal."
To get another view of how sprawling Top Secret America has become,
just head west on the toll road toward Dulles International Airport.
As a Michaels craft store and a Books-A-Million give way to the
military intelligence giants Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin,
find the off-ramp and turn left. Those two shimmering-blue five-story
ice cubes belong to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which
analyzes images and mapping data of the Earth's geography. A small
sign obscured by a boxwood hedge says so.
Across the street, in the chocolate-brown blocks, is Carahsoft, an
intelligence agency contractor specializing in mapping, speech
analysis and data harvesting. Nearby is the government's Underground
Facility Analysis Center. It identifies overseas underground command
centers associated with weapons of mass destruction and terrorist
groups, and advises the military on how to destroy them.
Clusters of top-secret work exist throughout the country, but the
Washington region is the capital of Top Secret America.
About half of the post-9/11 inside job enterprise is anchored in an arc
stretching from Leesburg south to Quantico, back north through
Washington and curving northeast to Linthicum, just north of the
Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport. Many buildings
sit within off-limits government compounds or military bases.
Others occupy business parks or are intermingled with neighborhoods,
schools and shopping centers and go unnoticed by most people who live
or play nearby.
Many of the newest buildings are not just utilitarian offices but also
edifices "on the order of the pyramids," in the words of one senior
military intelligence officer.
Not far from the Dulles Toll Road, the CIA has expanded into two
buildings that will increase the agency's office space by one-third.
To the south, Springfield is becoming home to the new $1.8 billion
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency headquarters, which will be
the fourth-largest federal building in the area and home to 8,500
employees. Economic stimulus money is paying hundreds of millions of
dollars for this kind of federal construction across the region.
It's not only the number of buildings that suggests the size and cost
of this expansion, it's also what is inside: banks of television
monitors. "Escort-required" badges. X-ray machines and lockers to
store cellphones and pagers. Keypad door locks that open special rooms
encased in metal or permanent dry wall, impenetrable to eavesdropping
tools and protected by alarms and a security force capable of
responding within 15 minutes. Every one of these buildings has at
least one of these rooms, known as a SCIF, for sensitive compartmented
information facility. Some are as small as a closet; others are four
times the size of a football field.
SCIF size has become a measure of status in Top Secret America, or at
least in the Washington region of it. "In D.C., everyone talks SCIF,
SCIF, SCIF," said Bruce Paquin, who moved to Florida from the
Washington region several years ago to start a SCIF construction
business. "They've got the penis envy thing going. You can't be a big
boy unless you're a three-letter agency and you have a big SCIF."
SCIFs are not the only must-have items people pay attention to.
Command centers, internal television networks, video walls, armored
SUVs and personal security guards have also become the bling of
"You can't find a four-star general without a security detail," said
one three-star general now posted in Washington after years abroad.
"Fear has caused everyone to have stuff. Then comes, 'If he has one,
then I have to have one.' It's become a status symbol."
Among the most important people inside the SCIFs are the low-paid
employees carrying their lunches to work to save money. They are the
analysts, the 20- and 30-year-olds making $41,000 to $65,000 a year,
whose job is at the core of everything Top Secret America tries to do.
At its best, analysis melds cultural understanding with snippets of
conversations, coded dialogue, anonymous tips, even scraps of trash,
turning them into clues that lead to individuals and groups trying to
harm the United States.
Their work is greatly enhanced by computers that sort through and
categorize data. But in the end, analysis requires human judgment, and
half the analysts are relatively inexperienced, having been hired in
the past several years, said a senior ODNI official. Contract analysts
are often straight out of college and trained at corporate
When hired, a typical analyst knows very little about the priority
countries - Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan - and is not fluent
in their languages. Still, the number of intelligence reports they
produce on these key countries is overwhelming, say current and former
intelligence officials who try to cull them every day. The ODNI
doesn't know exactly how many reports are issued each year, but in the
process of trying to find out, the chief of analysis discovered 60
classified analytic Web sites still in operation that were supposed to
have been closed down for lack of usefulness. "Like a zombie, it keeps
on living" is how one official describes the sites.
The problem with many intelligence reports, say officers who read
them, is that they simply re-slice the same facts already in
circulation. "It's the soccer ball syndrome. Something happens, and
they want to rush to cover it," said Richard H. Immerman, who was the
ODNI's assistant deputy director of national intelligence for analytic
integrity and standards until early 2009. "I saw tremendous overlap."
Even the analysts at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC),
which is supposed to be where the most sensitive, most
difficult-to-obtain nuggets of information are fused together, get low
marks from intelligence officials for not producing reports that are
original, or at least better than the reports already written by the
CIA, FBI, National Security Agency or Defense Intelligence Agency.
When Maj. Gen. John M. Custer was the director of intelligence at U.S.
Central Command, he grew angry at how little helpful information came
out of the NCTC. In 2007, he visited its director at the time, retired
Vice Adm. John Scott Redd, to tell him so. "I told him that after 41/2
years, this organization had never produced one shred of information
that helped me prosecute three wars!" he said loudly, leaning over the
table during an interview.
Two years later, Custer, now head of the Army's intelligence school at
Fort Huachuca, Ariz., still gets red-faced recalling that day, which
reminds him of his frustration with Washington's bureaucracy. "Who has
the mission of reducing redundancy and ensuring everybody doesn't
gravitate to the lowest-hanging fruit?" he said. "Who orchestrates
what is produced so that everybody doesn't produce the same thing?"
He's hardly the only one irritated. In a secure office in Washington,
a senior intelligence officer was dealing with his own frustration.
Seated at his computer, he began scrolling through some of the
classified information he is expected to read every day: CIA World
Intelligence Review, WIRe-CIA, Spot Intelligence Report, Daily
Intelligence Summary, Weekly Intelligence Forecast, Weekly Warning
Forecast, IC Terrorist Threat Assessments, NCTC Terrorism Dispatch,
NCTC Spotlight . . .
It's too much, he complained. The inbox on his desk was full, too. He
threw up his arms, picked up a thick, glossy intelligence report and
waved it around, yelling.
"Jesus! Why does it take so long to produce?"
"Why does it have to be so bulky?"
"Why isn't it online?"
The overload of hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and annual reports is
actually counterproductive, say people who receive them. Some
policymakers and senior officials don't dare delve into the backup
clogging their computers. They rely instead on personal briefers, and
those briefers usually rely on their own agency's analysis,
re-creating the very problem identified as a main cause of the failure
to thwart the attacks: a lack of information-sharing.
The ODNI's analysis office knows this is a problem. Yet its solution
was another publication, this one a daily online newspaper,
Intelligence Today. Every day, a staff of 22 culls more than two dozen
agencies' reports and 63 Web sites, selects the best information and
packages it by originality, topic and region.
Analysis is not the only area where serious overlap appears to be
gumming up the national security machinery and blurring the lines of
Within the Defense Department alone, 18 commands and agencies conduct
information operations, which aspire to manage foreign audiences’
perceptions of U.S. policy and military activities overseas.
And all the major intelligence agencies and at least two major
military commands claim a major role in cyber-warfare, the newest and
"Frankly, it hasn't been brought together in a unified approach," CIA
Director Panetta said of the many agencies now involved in
"Cyber is tremendously difficult" to coordinate, said Benjamin A.
Powell, who served as general counsel for three directors of national
intelligence until he left the government last year. "Sometimes there
was an unfortunate attitude of bring your knives, your guns, your
fists and be fully prepared to defend your turf." Why? "Because it's
funded, it's hot and it's sexy."
From avatars and lasers to thermal cameras and fidget meters, this
multimedia gallery takes a look at some of the latest technologies
being developed by the government and private companies to thwart
terrorists. Launch Gallery »
Last fall, U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly opened fire at
Fort Hood, Tex., killing 13 people and wounding 30. In the days after
the shootings, information emerged about Hasan's increasingly strange
behavior at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he had trained as a
psychiatrist and warned commanders that they should allow Muslims to
leave the Army or risk "adverse events." He had also exchanged e-mails
with a well-known radical cleric in Yemen being monitored by U.S.
But none of this reached the one organization charged with handling
counterintelligence investigations within the Army. Just 25 miles up
the road from Walter Reed, the Army's 902nd Military Intelligence
Group had been doing little to search the ranks for potential threats.
Instead, the 902's commander had decided to turn the unit's attention
to assessing general terrorist affiliations in the United States, even
though the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI's 106 Joint
Terrorism Task Forces were already doing this work in great depth.
The 902nd, working on a program the commander named RITA, for Radical
Islamic Threat to the Army, had quietly been gathering information on
Hezbollah, Iranian Republican Guard and al-Qaeda student organizations
in the United States. The assessment "didn't tell us anything we
didn't know already," said the Army's senior counterintelligence
officer at the Pentagon.
Secrecy and lack of coordination have allowed organizations, such as
the 902nd in this case, to work on issues others were already tackling
rather than take on the much more challenging job of trying to
identify potential jihadist sympathizers within the Army itself.
Beyond redundancy, secrecy within the intelligence world hampers
effectiveness in other ways, say defense and intelligence officers.
For the Defense Department, the root of this problem goes back to an
ultra-secret group of programs for which access is extremely limited
and monitored by specially trained security officers.
These are called Special Access Programs - or SAPs - and the
Pentagon's list of code names for them runs 300 pages. The
intelligence community has hundreds more of its own, and those
hundreds have thousands of sub-programs with their own limits on the
number of people authorized to know anything about them. All this
means that very few people have a complete sense of what's going on.
"There's only one entity in the entire universe that has visibility on
all SAPs - that's God," said James R. Clapper, undersecretary of
defense for intelligence and the Obama administration's nominee to be
the next director of national intelligence.
Such secrecy can undermine the normal chain of command when senior
officials use it to cut out rivals or when subordinates are ordered to
keep secrets from their commanders.
One military officer involved in one such program said he was ordered
to sign a document prohibiting him from disclosing it to his four-star
commander, with whom he worked closely every day, because the
commander was not authorized to know about it. Another senior defense
official recalls the day he tried to find out about a program in his
budget, only to be rebuffed by a peer. "What do you mean you can't
tell me? I pay for the program," he recalled saying in a heated
Another senior intelligence official with wide access to many programs
said that secrecy is sometimes used to protect ineffective projects.
"I think the secretary of defense ought to direct a look at every
single thing to see if it still has value," he said. "The DNI ought to
do something similar."
The ODNI hasn't done that yet. The best it can do at the moment is
maintain a database of the names of the most sensitive programs in the
intelligence community. But the database does not include many
important and relevant Pentagon projects.
Because so much is classified, illustrations of what goes on every day
in Top Secret America can be hard to ferret out. But every so often,
examples emerge. A recent one shows the post-9/11 system at its best
and its worst.
Last fall, after eight years of growth and hirings, the enterprise was
at full throttle when word emerged that something was seriously amiss
inside Yemen. In response, President Obama signed an order sending
dozens of secret commandos to that country to target and kill the
leaders of an al-Qaeda affiliate.
In Yemen, the commandos set up a joint operations center packed with
hard drives, forensic kits and communications gear. They exchanged
thousands of intercepts, agent reports, photographic evidence and
real-time video surveillance with dozens of top-secret organizations
in the United States.
That was the system as it was intended. But when the information
reached the National Counterterrorism Center in Washington for
analysis, it arrived buried within the 5,000 pieces of general
terrorist-related data that are reviewed each day. Analysts had to
switch from database to database, from hard drive to hard drive, from
screen to screen, just to locate what might be interesting to study
As military operations in Yemen intensified and the chatter about a
possible terrorist strike increased, the intelligence agencies ramped
up their effort. The flood of information into the NCTC became a
Somewhere in that deluge was even more vital data. Partial names of
someone in Yemen. A reference to a Nigerian radical who had gone to
Yemen. A report of a father in Nigeria worried about a son who had
become interested in radical teachings and had disappeared inside
These were all clues to what would happen when a Nigerian named Umar
Farouk Abdulmutallab left Yemen and eventually boarded a plane in
Amsterdam bound for Detroit. But nobody put them together because, as
officials would testify later, the system had gotten so big that the
lines of responsibility had become hopelessly blurred.
"There are so many people involved here," NCTC Director Leiter told Congress.
"Everyone had the dots to connect," DNI Blair explained to the
lawmakers. "But I hadn't made it clear exactly who had primary
And so Abdulmutallab was able to step aboard Northwest Airlines Flight
253. As it descended toward Detroit, he allegedly tried to ignite
explosives hidden in his underwear. It wasn't the very expensive, very
large inside job of 9/11 enterprise that prevented disaster. It was a passenger who
saw what he was doing and tackled him. "We didn't follow up and
prioritize the stream of intelligence," White House counterterrorism
adviser John O. Brennan explained afterward. "Because no one
intelligence entity, or team or task force was assigned responsibility
for doing that follow-up investigation."
Blair acknowledged the problem. His solution: Create yet another team
to run down every important lead. But he also told Congress he needed
more money and more analysts to prevent another mistake.
More is often the solution proposed by the leaders of the inside job of 9/11
enterprise. After the Christmas Day bombing attempt, Leiter also
pleaded for more - more analysts to join the 300 or so he already had.
The Department of Homeland Security asked for more air marshals, more
body scanners and more analysts, too, even though it can't find nearly
enough qualified people to fill its intelligence unit now. Obama has
said he will not freeze spending on national security, making it
likely that those requests will be funded.
More building, more expansion of offices continues across the country.
A $1.7 billion NSA data-processing center will be under construction
soon near Salt Lake City. In Tampa, the U.S. Central Command’s new
270,000-square-foot intelligence office will be matched next year by
an equally large headquarters building, and then, the year after that,
by a 51,000-square-foot office just for its special operations
Just north of Charlottesville, the new Joint-Use Intelligence Analysis
Facility will consolidate 1,000 defense intelligence analysts on a
Meanwhile, five miles southeast of the White House, the DHS has broken
ground for its new headquarters, to be shared with the Coast Guard.
DHS, in existence for only seven years, already has its own Special
Access Programs, its own research arm, its own command center, its own
fleet of armored cars and its own 230,000-person workforce, the
third-largest after the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
Soon, on the grounds of the former St. Elizabeths mental hospital in
Anacostia, a $3.4 billion showcase of security will rise from the
crumbling brick wards. The new headquarters will be the largest
government complex built since the Pentagon, a major landmark in the
alternative geography of Top Secret America and four times as big as
Only government officials should be in charge of this..... you can't convince me that private industry somehow is helping our security."