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The Intelligence Community: Have We Created A Monster?

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  • The Intelligence Community: Have We Created A Monster?

    Last week the Washington Post released the first in a series of investigative articles on the growth of the U.S. intelligence community since 911. It is a fact-packed and eye-opening piece, and the follow-on articles are sure to produce a national discussion on the role, growth, and efficacy of the intelligence community.

    Here are a couple interesting items from the article. Something like 854,000 people hold top secret security clearances. Over 3,000 government organizations and private companies work on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence gathering. Since 911 we have added over 17 million square feet of office space for intelligence agencies, the equivalent of three complete Pentagons.

    The thrust of the article is not simply that intelligence gathering has grown, but rather that it has metastasized. It is out of control and the Intelligence Community has learned little or nothing of value about information sharing in the wake of the 911 failures. The* Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which was created to solve the problems of inter-agency secrecy and turf wars, has, according to the Post, simply papered over the problem with another layer of bureaucracy.

    The White House was aware the article was coming and had the ODNI prepare a cogent and well-argued reply, which you can read here. After reading it I have the feeling that it plays “gotcha” a bit with the Post. The Post article is clearly the product of an enormous amount of careful research, but by its very nature some aspects of the intelligence community remained hidden ...


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