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Top Secret America

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the i-have-a-secret dept.

The Military 502

mahiskali writes "The Washington Post published an immense interactive website today, detailing the companies and government agencies currently doing top secret work in the United States. Everything from counter-IED operations to human intelligence is touched upon. Citing various interviews with 'super users' and through exhaustive analysis of public records for over two years, this interactive site allows users to peer into the guarded world of top secret intelligence. With more than 854,000 people currently holding a TS clearance, has the defense and intelligence world grown too big, too fast? Or has this large growth served us well, exemplified by no successful terrorist acts on US soil since 9/11? How can we judge the success of these programs, when much of it will never be known by the general public?"

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United States Government Accountability Office? (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949536)

How can we judge the success of these programs, when much of it will never be known by the general public?

I thought the effectiveness of intelligence and homeland security spending were periodically reported on and covered by the GAO [gao.gov] ? Then you'd get congressional hearings on bad years and large contracts like the FBI's Virtual Case File System (complete failure)?

Seems to be a lot of hype. Yeah, we know the contractors soak up a lot of your tax dollars. Yeah, I know you can use black and white footage to make it look evil and interview your own reporters to sell newspapers and ads. You might be correct saying that there has been too much spending since 9/11 on this stuff but how does revealing contracts and small businesses associated with the government help this situation?

Also, I'd like to point out that this appears to be a three part story running Mon-Tues-Wed with a PBS Frontline one hour special on it [pbs.org] . Evidently, PBS and the WP think the little stuff you know about national security is going to aid you in your decision to determine whether or not your tax dollars are being appropriately spent. Good luck.

Re:United States Government Accountability Office? (2, Insightful)

ergrthjuyt (1856764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949592)

Evidently, PBS and the WP think the little stuff you know about national security is going to aid you in your decision to determine whether or not your tax dollars are being appropriately spent.

Brilliant. You've highlighted the paradox. We can't judge the effectiveness of security programs because they rely on secrecy to be effective, and knowing enough to judge their effectiveness destroys their effectiveness.

A cruel and unusual system for which there is no obvious solution, and which there is really no one to blame.

Re:United States Government Accountability Office? (5, Interesting)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949786)

Worse, if the latest research [cnneffect.net] (Warning: PDF research paper) on journalist standards at "credible" newspapers like Washington Post/NYT is any indication, we can't even trust anything that isn't secret to be reported correctly inside "Top Secret America". Sad, very sad, but at least the rapidly growing internet journalism is showing them up [editorsweblog.org] ...

Re:United States Government Accountability Office? (3, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950068)

okay, so the issue here is that top secret is a requirement for a lot of things that might not be top secret. Say you're doing some kind of database for the gov't? It could be as basic as library of congress but they might require someone with top secret clearance at some level of the company.

It's the wrong issue to focus on if you simply look at "are top secret jobs productive/worthwhile or not", essentially.

While I am sure there are some positions that are overpaid and won government contracts for more money than the minimal BS they're doing, the bigger issue should be : why do we need this many programs top secret?

Re:United States Government Accountability Office? (4, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950080)

Terror attacks will come again from other sources. It doesn't matter how much money you spend. Maybe if you spend enough to create the situation that existed in former East Germany. But do anybody really want to go there?

And are all these measures able to take care of a terrorist like the Una Bomber [wikipedia.org] anyway?

How I Learned to Start Thinking and Hate the Jews (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32949558)

There are two types of people in the world: people who think there are two types of people in the world and people who don’t. I’m among the first type and I think the world is divided into people who recognize the Jewish problem and people who don’t.

In other words, the world is divided into smart people and dumb people. If you’ve got an IQ of 80, have difficulty operating a can-opener, and recognize the Jewish problem, you’re smart. If you’ve got an IQ of 180, have already won a couple of Nobel Prizes, and don’t recognize the Jewish problem, you’re dumb.

I’ve been dumb for most of my life: it took me a long time to recognize the Jewish problem. I didn’t think for myself, I just accepted the propaganda and conformed to the consensus. Jews are good people. Only bad people criticize Jews. Jews good. Anti-Semites bad. But then, very slowly, I started to see the light.

Recognizing Jewish hypocrisy was the first big step. I was reading an article by someone called Rabbi Julia Neuberger, a prominent British liberal. I didn’t like liberals then, so I didn’t like her for that (and because her voice and manner had always grated on me), but her Jewishness wasn’t something I particularly noticed. But as I read the article I came across something that didn’t strike me as very liberal: she expressed concern about Jews marrying Gentiles, because this threatened the survival of the Jewish people.

That made me sit up and think. Hold on, I thought, I know this woman sits on all sorts of “multi-cultural” committees and is constantly being invited onto TV and radio to yap about the joys of diversity and the evils of racism. She’s all in favor of mass immigration and there’s no way she’s worried about Whites marrying non-Whites, because “Race is Just a Social Construct” and “We’re All the Same Under the Skin”. She’s a liberal and she thinks that race-mixing is good and healthy and Holy. Yet this same woman is worried about Jews marrying Gentiles. Small contradiction there, n'est ce-pas?

Well, no. Big contradiction. She obviously didn’t apply the same rules to everyone else as she applied to her own people, the Jews. She was, in short, a hypocrite. But not just that – she was a Jewish hypocrite. And that’s a big step for a brainwashed White to take: not just thinking in a negative way about a Jew, but thinking in a negative way about a Jew because of her Jewishness.

After that, I slowly started to see the world in a different way. Or to be more precise: I started to see the world. I started to see what had always been there: the massive over-representation of Jews in politics and the media. And I started to notice that a lot of those Jews – like Rabbi Julia Neuberger, in fact – gave me the creeps. There was something slimy and oily and flesh-crawling about them. And it wasn’t just me, either: other Gentiles seemed to feel it too.

Politicians often attract nicknames based on some outstanding aspect of their character or behavior. Margaret Thatcher was “The Iron Lady”. Ronald Reagan was “Teflon Ron”. Bill Clinton was “Slick Willy”. But these are Gentile politicians and their nicknames are at least half-affectionate. Jewish politicians seem to attract a different kind of nickname. In Britain, Gerald Kaufman, bald, homosexual Member of Parliament for Manchester Gorton, is nicknamed “Hannibal Lecter”. Peter Mandelson, now Britain’s Euro-Commissioner and Tony Blair’s suspected former lover, is “The Prince of Darkness”. Michael Howard (né Hecht), the leader of the British Conservative Party, is “Dracula”.

When I noticed this kind of thing, I started to ask questions. What was going on here? Why did Jews attract nicknames like that? And why had Gentiles reacted to them like that not just now, but a long way into the past? Shakespeare seems to have felt the same kind of repulsion when he created the vengeful lawyer Shylock, and Dickens when he created the parasitic master-thief Fagin. Classic “anti-Semitic” stereotypes, but I knew that stereotypes aren’t always wrong. If anti-Semitic stereotypes aren’t always wrong, then there’s an obvious conclusion: neither is anti-Semitism. Gentiles are sometimes right to dislike and distrust Jews.

After all, at the same time I was noticing something else: the massive over-representation of Jews, not just among politicians and journalists, but among crooked businessmen too. In fact, among very, very crooked businessmen, the ones responsible for really big frauds at Gentile expense. Men like Robert Maxwell (né Hoch), Ivan “Greed is Good” Boesky, and Michael Milken. And, on a slightly lesser scale, Ernest Saunders, who finagled an early release from prison because he was coming down with Alzheimer’s, that well-known incurable brain disease from which no-one ever recovers. Only Saunders managed to confound medical science and recover from it.

Slimy. Hypocritical. Crooked. In a word: Jewish. But I didn’t take the final step, the step to full recognition of the Jewish problem, until I watched the reaction to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. I’m not a Christian and I have little sympathy with modern Christianity, but I had a lot of sympathy for Mel Gibson as I watched the hysterical campaign against him. The hysterical, well-organized, international campaign by the slimy, hypocritical, crooked Jew Abe Foxman, Head of the Anti-Defamation League, and his fellow slimy, hypocritical, crooked Jews around the world. They didn’t like something and they were moving heaven and earth to get it stopped.

And what was it they didn’t like? A movie about an event at the heart of European art, literature, and culture: the crucifixion of Christ. So here was another obvious conclusion: Jews hate European art, literature, and culture. In other words, Jews hate White civilization and the White race who created it.

After that, it all fell into place. I finally recognized that Jews weren’t just slimy, hypocritical, and crooked, but actively dangerous too. If I thought of something harmful to White civilization and the survival of the White race – mass immigration, feminism, multi-culturalism, anti-racism, gay rights – I realized that Jews were behind it, were promoting it through their control of the media, and had been doing so for decades.

Finally, I had seen the light. Finally, I had gotten smart and recognized the Jewish problem, the problem that even dumb Gentiles subconsciously recognize when they give nicknames like “Hannibal Lecter” and “Prince of Darkness” and “Dracula” to Jewish politicians. Jews really do want to eat us, and steal our souls, and suck our blood, and it’s about time we started firing a few silver bullets.

9/11 ? (-1, Troll)

thechemic (1329333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949564)

There was a terrorist attack on 9/11?

Re:9/11 ? (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949662)

Yes, and they've threatened to attack other dates at random until we change our calendar.

Re:9/11 ? (1)

cpscotti (1032676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949668)

november, 2011? Wasn't it supposed to be on 2012?
Well, as predictions go, the USA vs. England match on the FIFA world cup was a total failure!

Re:9/11 ? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949892)

november, 2011? Wasn't it supposed to be on 2012?

Its like Christmas in a shopping mall, you were expecting it to turn up in December but it arrives two months ahead of time.

Re:9/11 ? (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949814)

Yes, the terrorists attack the number 0.81818181818181818181818181818182 all the time. I rounded it up to prevent any real damage to the poor little thing.

Re:9/11 ? (3, Informative)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949820)

exemplified by no successful terrorist acts on US soil since 9/11?

So we're the anthrax attacks no terrorist acts?

Re:9/11 ? (2, Insightful)

hargrand (1301911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950000)

exemplified by no successful terrorist acts on US soil since 9/11?

So we're the anthrax attacks no terrorist acts?

I think what the OP meant was that there have been no successful terrorist attacks committed by terrorist groups or organizations. Groups imply that communications need to occur and support sought all of which are possible to detect and counter. The anthrax attacks and terrorist attacks like that of Nidal Malik Hasan at Fort Hood were "lone wolf" attacks that are very difficult to detect or counter since they lack those communications or support channels that could be used to detect the planning of such an attack.

Re:9/11 ? (2, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950024)

Not to mention massive spending and inconvenience that is security theatre. Remember, the aim of terrorism isn't necessarily to cause physical harm, it's just to spread terror. If they can do that without lifting a finger, that's a major win. A nation in fear, or being forced to jump through security hoops, is already suffering the effects of terrorist actions, regardless of when the last real attack took place.

Correction (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949578)

detailing the companies and Government agencies currently doing previously Top Secret work in the United States.

FTFY

Re:Correction (-1, Troll)

atomic-penguin (100835) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949932)

...currently doing previously...

Really, do you think that is correct?

Re:Correction (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950060)

...currently doing previously...

Really, do you think that is correct?

If the work currently being done had previously been classified, then yes. Had the GP been the author of the sentence I'm sure he could have found a better way to say that, but as an FTFY revision to the summary I think it works.

From what I read of the story, several of the programs discussed are no longer (or never were) classified. However work continues on those projects.

Re:Correction (1)

nomorecwrd (1193329) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950100)

Looks weird, but I think it is correct. Agencies are currently doing stuff that was previously considered top secret, but now it isn't.

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32950006)

Yes, every defense contractor just went out of business. Are you really that fucking stupid?

Hmm! (5, Insightful)

NeoThermic (732100) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949580)

"Or has this large growth served us well, exemplified by no successful terrorist acts on US soil since 9/11?"

The day after 9/11 I found a rock. I've kept this rock with me every day since then. Could it be more that this rock prevents terrorism?

Will people ever learn that correlation does not imply causation?

Re:Hmm! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32949624)

i'll give you $30 for the rock.

Re:Hmm! (3, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949952)

i'll give you $30 for the rock.

well I have a rock too .. and it keeps terr'rists *and* elephants at bay. And at $50 its a steal compared to a rock that only does one thing.

The reason I am selling it is because I want to get one of those K-Tel rocks .. man they are sweet .. they keep everything at bay!

Re:Hmm! (5, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950152)

In Iran, rocks prevent adultery.

Re:Hmm! (1, Insightful)

nycguy (892403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949682)

Let's see: There have been successful terrorist attacks around the world since 9/11. These attacks imply that terrorists are still active. Terrorists groups have re-asserted their ongoing desire to conduct similar attacks with in the US. Moreover, some such attempts have been made in the US but largely prevented. I'd say those might imply causation, douchebag.

Re:Hmm! (5, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949782)

Let's see: There have been successful terrorist attacks around the world since 9/11. These attacks imply that terrorists are still active. Terrorists groups have re-asserted their ongoing desire to conduct similar attacks with in the US. Moreover, some such attempts have been made in the US but largely prevented. I'd say those might imply causation, douchebag.

Funny that in Europe many people think its the redneck militaristic Americans who are the douchebags.

There haven't been any successful terrorist attacks on Finland, Slovakia or Portugal either... and those countries can even be reached on foot from the terrorist hotspots. And they haven't severely reduced civil rights or increased their military expenses to a level that is unsustainable on the long term (although Portugal seems to have found ways to go bankrupt even without wasting money on an army).

Re:Hmm! (3, Insightful)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949980)

Yes, that and we Europeans feel like the increased threat to our countries is also to blame on US foreign policy... Most 'terrorists' are just idiots trying to do battle against the entire western world. Their beef is with the US, but the entire western world now feels the wrath of these terrorists... So top-secret-US-agencies thanks a lot for that, you really helped out! And so did invading Afghanistan and Iraq, and all of the shit the US pulls we don't even have a fucking clue about. You can't try to control the world because there will be (bad) consequences to all your actions... and right now we're feeling a little too much of that too here in Europe...

Re:Hmm! (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950082)

Funny that in Europe many people think its the redneck militaristic Americans who are the douchebags.

At least we respect freedom of religion in this country and aren't busy passing [wikipedia.org] legislation [cnn.com] to infringe upon the practice of that freedom. Maybe you should take a look at your own backyard before you start throwing stones into mine?

Re:Hmm! (1)

hargrand (1301911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950148)

I'll grant you that the curbing of civil rights (particularly guarantees of the right to keep and bear arms and to unreasonable search and seizure) are probably counter-productive. I'd dealy like to see all of those airport security points dismantled and passengers (after receiving the proper training) allowed to carry concealed firearms on board commercial aricraft.

Still, your logic on picking those European other countries is somewhat suspect. They are not exactly the beacons that draw the ire Islamic militants. It's kind of like writing a malware to attack OS X ... what's the point when there are so many more Windows installations out there that will allow your malware to propogate more effectively? Still, Spain did receive special attention largely because of their support of US counter-terrorism operations, and after the Madrid train bombings, the Spanish government withdrew that support.

Re:Hmm! (5, Insightful)

Grygus (1143095) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949798)

This was all also true for 10+ years before 9/11, when many of today's "security" measures were not in place. How does your theory account for this? Could it be that we already had successful prevention measures in place and they simply failed one time, with only small tweaks needed instead of a deeply rooted culture of fear and suspicion?

Re:Hmm! (5, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949898)

Yes, after the fall of the Soviet Union, there were good security measures. The only thing missing at that time was a decent enemy.

Luckily, we found a good enemy. We take it very serious. And by the looks of it, we cannot even defeat this one. It's the perfect excuse to continue spending tons of money on useless weapons and other security measures.

Re:Hmm! (1)

playcat (1723020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949808)

What you just wrote is actually quite silly, and Neothermic's arguments holds, showing simply that you don't know what you're speaking.

Maybe you'll find this example more appropriate for your argument, supporting Neothermic: it may rain all over the world, except in the city you live. You'll have drought in your city.

And it's not nice to insult people. For your sake, also: rain = terrorism.

Re:Hmm! (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949870)

Yeah, like the terrorist attack on times square that was so adequately prevented by the agencies? Oh no, it was a dud... or did they sabotage that too?

Re:Hmm! (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949888)

So you agree, his rock has prevented terrorists from attacking the US. Since terrorists are still active over the world, but have been prevented from making such attacks in the US since he found his rock.

The day after 9/11 you found a rock? (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949704)

For most Americans, the day after 9/11 they found Iraq.

Re:The day after 9/11 you found a rock? (2, Interesting)

playcat (1723020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949864)

Phew... I sincerely hope you're writing this as irony.

They found Iraq for totally different reasons. I live in Bosnia, and am almost everyday watching news about terrorist training camps in Bosnia. And US troops are here. Doing nothing about it.

Come on, it's just politics... Maybe Americans found Iraq after 9/11, but that's only because US gov pointed their finger over there... Average American could have found Iraq during primary school, if they actually cared enough to know.

Re:The day after 9/11 you found a rock? (5, Informative)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949914)

For most Americans, the day after 9/11 they found Iraq.

Which is sad revisionist history since that the US immediately invaded Afghanistan over 9/11 and only a long time later did they get around to invading Iraq.

Re:The day after 9/11 you found a rock? (4, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950004)

WHOOOSH!

Puns are the only thing that separates us from The Terrorists.

Re:The day after 9/11 you found a rock? (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950058)

WHOOOSH!

Puns are the only thing that separates us from The Terrorists.

Damn I feel stoopid now. In the rush to post I forgot that I was posting on /. rather than CL RNR.

Re:The day after 9/11 you found a rock? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950042)

It's still remarkable how they managed to convince so much of the american public that iraq had anything to do with 9/11.

Re:Hmm! (3, Informative)

jessevondoom (1819508) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949942)

In fairness, that rock is probably just as capable of preventing terrorist acts as the permanently-orange threat-level rainbow...

Re:Hmm! (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949990)

NeoThermic I would like to buy that rock.

Re:Hmm! (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950030)

I pushed shift-I and some other keys and this sentence appeared on my screen. How many times must you insist "correlation does not imply causation" before you realize that sometimes it does? Do you understand what evidence is?

854,000 people currently holding a TS clearance (5, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949586)

That number mey be exaggerated; it's possible it includes me, as I held a TS clearance in the USAF almost 40 years ago. It may even be likely. Just because a person holds a clearance doesn't mean they actually know anything, even with a clearance you're only briefed on a "need to know" basis. If it does include me, it includes anyone who was ever stationed at Utapao, Thailand during the Vietnam war, since some secret recon gear was there. It also likely includes anyone who was ever stationed at a SAC base.

If this is so, 854k people doesn't seem quite so outrageous; it may sinply be the people still living who were investigated, cleared, and trained (you have to get training to get a TS clearance).

Joe biden cant keep it secret (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32949722)

what makes you think almost 1 million can

Re:854,000 people currently holding a TS clearance (4, Interesting)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949724)

Clearances expire if they aren't being actively used. (although I imagine it'd be easier to reactivate an old clearance than it would be to get a new one)

You're right about the "need to know". Top Secret is only a starting point. After that, you get special clearances for specific projects. Even the names of some of these clearances are secret. I know of a guy that lost *all* of his clearances simple for listing his special clearances on his resume. Which makes finding people interesting. If you're a contractor needing people with QizBang clearance, you're not allowed to advertise for people with that clearance, and they aren't allowed to say they have it. ***

*** It's been twenty years since I've done anything that needed clearances. The DoD may have now have a secret clearing house where spy employers and employees can meet. If not, it should start one.

Re:854,000 people currently holding a TS clearance (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949860)

>> QizBang clearance... they aren't allowed to say they have it.

I'd tell you the first rule of QizBang Club, but then I'd have to kill you.

Re:854,000 people currently holding a TS clearance (1)

Hinhule (811436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949994)

Sigh, now I have to kill everyone who reads this for knowing the name of the club. :-(

Re:854,000 people currently holding a TS clearance (2, Insightful)

Grygus (1143095) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949970)

I think the prevailing attitude is that if you don't have the clearance to know who has that clearance, then you probably don't actually need people with that clearance.

Re:854,000 people currently holding a TS clearance (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32949754)

They hand them out like candy too, esp to direct family.
Mommy or daddy walks home with a bag and family has to be trusted on paper.
They never get to see anything or do anything but they are cleared.
The unofficial collaborator list would be huge but well blended over state and federal agencies :)

Re:854,000 people currently holding a TS clearance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32949926)

Many years ago, I was chosen to carry magnetic tapes with military payroll information from the computer room in one building to the command center in the next building, where I checked it into a vault. All I did was dismount a tape from a tape drive, walk one building over, and hand it to a clerk who was expecting it at that time twice a month. For this mundane task I held a Secret clearance. All having a clearance means is that the government checked you out and found no reason not to trust you; it doesn't mean they actually entrusted you with anything.

Re:854,000 people currently holding a TS clearance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32949982)

854k doesn't sound like a lot compared to the 300,000,000 people in the US. It's not even .3% of the population. Even if you narrow it down to the "working" age groups, it's still around .4%. That's a pretty high rejection ratio.

Top Secret Clearance != Access to Top Secret Info (1)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949614)

Having the clearance doesn't immediately give you the access. You can't complete the certification process, and then stroll into FBI headquarters and ask for a list of undercover agents. TS clearance has been added as a necessity for many IT positions that don't actually access the data they're responsible for maintaining or retrieving, for example.

Are we 'safer'? Maybe. Thomas Jefferson once said, “Those who would trade safety for freedom deserve neither.”

Re:Top Secret Clearance != Access to Top Secret In (2, Informative)

atrizu (1434023) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949876)

I think you mean Bejmain Franklin, who said "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

No successful terrorist attacks since 9/11? (4, Insightful)

blackpaw (240313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949620)

Or has this large growth served us well, exemplified by no successful terrorist acts on US soil since 9/11?

Is the submitter a complete idiot? remember those little letters full of Anthrax much?

Why do people keep saying this? its a completely weird oversight, especially as it was never credibly settled.

Re:No successful terrorist attacks since 9/11? (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949686)

Oh, and let's also ignore the Fort Hood shootings [wikipedia.org] , and accept the "on US soil" qualification. Then you might as well be saying "Fuck the troops. Fuck them in their stupid foreign-posted asses. Better them than me."

If this is "success", then what would failure look like?

Re:No successful terrorist attacks since 9/11? (2, Insightful)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949880)

If this is "success", then what would failure look like?

Freedom of the people.

Re:No successful terrorist attacks since 9/11? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32949924)

Oh, and let's also ignore the Fort Hood shootings [wikipedia.org] , and accept the "on US soil" qualification. Then you might as well be saying "Fuck the troops. Fuck them in their stupid foreign-posted asses. Better them than me."

If this is "success", then what would failure look like?

From your own link:

Although government agencies have officially declared Hasan had no links to known terrorist groups, many government officials, polls and public figures have called the shootings an act of Islamic terrorism.

Okay so it's under debate about whether or not this was a terrorist act. I don't understand how it's any more terrorism than the Columbine shootings. If it was a terrorist attack, he acted alone and is paralyzed from the waist down and in custody now. He's being charged murder and attempted murder under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Will he even be charged under 113B [cornell.edu] ?

Re:No successful terrorist attacks since 9/11? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949936)

Isn't that just the crude way of saying "fight them over here so they don't fight us over here" or whatever Bush's stupid catch-phrase was? Actually, isn't that also the whole point behind maintaining a professional, standing army rather than a citizen's militia?

Re:No successful terrorist attacks since 9/11? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950110)

Sure, but occasionally it's good to pull back the curtain and remember that - Holy fuckbeans! - grunts are Americans too, all the time, not just on Veteran's Day. Dead in Afghanistan is just as final as dead in Arkansas.

Re:No successful terrorist attacks since 9/11? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950158)

And the bomb in Times Square [guardian.co.uk] ? From all the accounts I've read it was given away by the smoke, which seems like a failure to detonate. Yeah, the police "disarmed" it, but since it was a dud and had almost certainly already failed then they wouldn't have prevented it if it had been made correctly.

Re:No successful terrorist attacks since 9/11? (2, Insightful)

kilfarsnar (561956) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950022)

Or the DC Snipers? This is another example of people hearing something so much that they internalize it and treat it as fact. It's like when people thought that Sadam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks. The government and media want you to think that so they keep saying it or alluding to it until people think it's true.

Re:No successful terrorist attacks since 9/11? (2, Informative)

oldperson (213590) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950078)

Dick Cheney's response to Obama's civil liberties speech in May 2009 was notable for putting forth the same claim, that the Bush administration prevented any terrorist attacks after 9/11, also failing to mention the anthrax attacks, which probably did more to frighten people than the 9/11 attacks.

Some people would like the fact that a number of people were killed and congressional mail service disrupted for months by someone who has yet to be unidentified and who the FBI concluded used biological weapons from a US government research facility to disappear down the memory hole. The house judiciary committee, which oversees the justice dept. and thus the FBI, was highly skeptical of the FBI's claim that Bruce Ivins was the sole individual responsible. Check Grassley, a Republican, was openly skeptical that Ivins was even involved. (Ivins did work at a biological weapons lab, but he didn't have access to the strain that was used in the attacks.)

Remember, facts are now judged not only by their truth and relevance, but also by their political significance.

Sappin (1)

ceraphis (1611217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949626)

I'd hate to be an imprisoned Russian spy right about now.

Misleading on the numbers (4, Insightful)

RJarett (114128) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949632)

The site statistics and information are incredibly misleading. Simply because 1m hold TS clearance, or the right to gain TS clearance for an SCI level job, does not mean 1m people are actively working in the industry.

With so many contractors such as Lockheed, CSC, OAO, etc... you have thousands which may hold clearance but they are not at the moment on a project. When I was working for CSC, in the span of a few years, I was on a dozen different projects. Some non-classified, some were. Not all were for the Gov't. I still had to hold a clearance.

Some were for the Gov't but totally benign in terms of what was worked on.

There is a massive amount of infrastructure to run all Gov't ops, bases, local and state Gov't. Even if you want to be a janitor in many places, you have to qualify for a clearance.

If you want to run fiber or copper cabling between buildings which house classified projects, you need to have a clearance.

To be a receptionist at many facilities, you need to have a clearance.

The information leads the reader to think that all 1m with TS clearance are working at the moment on nefarious projects for an evil government. While the reality is, most are simply support staff doing work that if it were any other customer, would be easily overlooked and thought down on.

This is just another Washington Post scaremongering article by someone who makes their living off of the people she is claiming are too many in number.

Re:Misleading on the numbers (1)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949826)

The information leads the reader to think that all 1m with TS clearance are working at the moment on nefarious projects for an evil government. While the reality is, most are simply support staff doing work that if it were any other customer, would be easily overlooked and thought down on.

Oh and I'll bet you no money at all that this "1 million TS clearances in the US" is going to be popping up in a lot of conspiracy theorist's blogs and forum posts and wherever else those things live.

As for 9/11, well the thing is attacks like that are nearly impossible to catch and stop early. The way these terror cells operate, they are totally isolated from the rest of the network and have limited contact with whoever is running the operation.
So short of having an asset actually in the group you are not going to be able to stop it early; the only hope you have of effectively preventing these sorts of operations is to secure the potential targets (airports, planes, whatever). If the 9/11 hijackers had not been able to access the cockpits of the planes they could not have gone though with their plan, if they were unable to bring boxcutters on they plane the same would also be true.

Back in the good old days of the Cold War (way before my time) intelligence was easy since you were spying on another state with a well organized military, this meant that a foreign intel operative could get access to information on all sorts of secret stuff by infiltrating the various branches of government bureaucracy; since al-qaeda obviously does not have much in the way of bureaucracy CIA and their kind are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to tracking them since short of direct surveillance (with could very well be illegal if it done by domestic agencies) or having an asset in the group there is very little they can do.

Another option... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32949634)

Or has the meaning of "top secret" been diluted by overuse?

This isn't good or beneficial (1)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949666)

If you consider back in 2002/3 the 'intelligence' gained turned out spurious in crucial places - this, during one of the fastest periods of 'top secret america's' growth - then no I'd say it isn't serving us ordinaries in the West very well at all. Info gathering for matters as big as what Colin Powell put forth at that time was pitiful, but did serve the ulterior motives that have been discussed at length here on Slashdot and elsewhere.

Since intelligence gathering was tied in with those two conflicts which still are ongoing, expect intel to be more along the lines of PR in favour of a given government's goals rather than anything factual or geniune. Assuming more wars follow, those employed want to keep it their paycheques coming: If you knew your government was angling to begin a war...does it make sense to trust most or even a fraction of the work that the intelligence community they pay and control produces?

If this is what the community involved with top secret work gives us in public and it on such an egregiously poor level in terms of wrongness, then all that points to is the possibility that the work that is kept secret is all the more unsavory, ethically questionable and downright terrifying whether it be torture, war crimes, kidnapping, assassination or anything other illegal practice the agencies in 'top secret America' have historically carried out or encouraged. These agencies do do good work at times, but I think this pace of growth, or growth at all, isn't necessary

Re:This isn't good or beneficial (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949908)

If you consider back in 2002/3 the 'intelligence' gained turned out spurious in crucial places

You can't say it is a failure or success unless you look at the ratio of crucial intelligence that was spurious to that amount of crucial intel that wasn't.

Ratios are bunk here (1)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950154)

With respect, you're talking out of your arse:

Even I did that it would be purely my opinion. To one guy 50% correct would constitute the border between 'success' and 'failure', to another 20%, and some on our diverse globe believe that if any crucial intelligence is incorrect then regardless of anything else it's a failure.

Not to mention how complex intelligence gathering is, how it applies to countless things. In the end you can't just do 'a ratio' and draw conclusions from everything because the quantity of important stuff is irrelevant to the sheer diversity of it: You could have a majority wrong, but still have enough right to allow those on the ground to pull something off with a resounding success and vice versa. Even whether something went well or not is up for debate. Simple ratio is just not a way to analyze such an intricate thing as this.

beware the military industrial compost (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32949676)

we slept through that one. this must be what we wanted?

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Tiger repellent. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32949678)

> Or has this large growth served us well, exemplified by no successful terrorist acts on US soil since 9/11?

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm!
Lisa: That’s specious reasoning, dad.
Homer: Why thank you, honey.
Lisa: By your logic, I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Hmm. How does it work?
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Contractors encouraged not to visit site (1)

shadow_slicer (607649) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949700)

I first heard about this site through an email from work. We handle a lot of government contracts, some of which are probably secret (though I'm not involved in any of that). The email was instructing us not to visit the site. That way we could more convincingly "neither confirm nor deny" anything from that site.

Re:Contractors encouraged not to visit site (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949984)

Whoever sent the e-mail is hyper-sensitive. Your company puts out more public documents that describe what you do exposing more info than you could by confirming anything on that site. Just look at some of the job descriptions you guys put out that require certain skill sets and degrees along with a certain level of security clearance. Just one employment description on Monster.com relates more info about the classified work your company does than you probably ever could.

Terrorism is rare (4, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949706)

Huge terrorist plots bringing down buildings are rare. The PETN bomber, for example, needed a steel detonator that could compress a sizable charge of PETN significantly, otherwise PETN just burns; but getting that kind of thing into airport security is hard, even pre-9/11, since they're bulky and steel and complex and obviously bombs. Taking over a plane is hard, too; seriously, box cutters aren't necessary when you can turn a shoe lace into a strangling tool and take a stewardess hostage.

Really, they were rare before 9/11; remember the Oklahoma thing, ad the 2 prior attempts on the new york trade centers. They're rare now.

Too big to be effective, too expensive... (4, Insightful)

EriktheGreen (660160) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949718)

They're kind of like the TSA... the "war on terrorism" provided an excuse for a grandstanding president with little intelligence to look like a "great statesman" by creating more, bigger government agencies that will have limited usefulness and will never shrink on their own. After all, their creation was an opportunity for elected officials to both appear to be "doing something" about terrorism and to spend a lot of money on their constituents, helping ensure their re-election.

It's a natural human impulse to think "more is better" or "bigger is better"... I'm starting to think it's biologically rooted. At any rate, combining all the intelligence agencies into one big organization only works if all the people involved are egoless, if they all are willing to work together, and if they all don't care if they have a job tomorrow. Most people can't do this, and the folks in charge at these agencies are the ones least likely to be able to do so, especially since many of them are government appointed or union.

The worst part is that many of the people involved with these efforts truly believe that they are doing the Right Thing, that they are the best defense against "another 9/11" and that they must be allowed to continue regardless of whether the US has the money or whether our existing laws stand in their way.

Submitted for your consideration: Which was worse for our country... the 9/11 attack and the aftermath, or the wars, restrictions, loss of freedoms, and problems created by our own government in response to it?

I never believed that 9/11 was anything but a horrible crime. No less than that, but certainly no more than that...

PS: Taco, this beta release of the comments editing software needs finishing...

"No terrorist attacks since 9/11"? (5, Interesting)

Silverhammer (13644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949726)

Or has this large growth served us well, exemplified by no successful terrorist acts on US soil since 9/11?

There have been numerous terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11, two successful (e.g., Fort Hood, Little Rock) and the rest foiled only by the attackers' own incompetence (e.g., Shoebomber, Pantybomber, Times Square).

Re:"No terrorist attacks since 9/11"? (1)

Silverhammer (13644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949756)

Sorry, that should be three successful attacks -- I forgot the shooting at LAX in 2002.

Re:"No terrorist attacks since 9/11"? (2, Informative)

Silverhammer (13644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949816)

Geez, it must be too early in the morning for me, because I also forgot the Washington D.C. snipers. So make that four successful attacks.

Re:"No terrorist attacks since 9/11"? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949992)

The DC Snipers weren't really terrorists though, were they? I was about a mile away when the last victim got shot... we got several days out from class because of it. Just because some guy changes his name to Mohamed doesn't mean he's anything other than a nuts multi-murderer.

Re:"No terrorist attacks since 9/11"? (1)

Silverhammer (13644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950122)

The prosecutors chose not to charge the snipers with terrorist acts, supposedly due to lack of evidence, but the snipers' own testimony and jailhouse writings indicated otherwise.

Re:"No terrorist attacks since 9/11"? (2, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950134)

Yes they were. They intended to extort money out of the Government and were willing to use violence against the population to intimidate the government into complying. That's almost a textbook definition of terrorism.

Re:"No terrorist attacks since 9/11"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32950026)

don't forget the anthrax attacks either

Re:"No terrorist attacks since 9/11"? (3, Insightful)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950018)

The shoebomber, pantybomber and times square incident WERE SUCCESSFUL ATTACKS. The goal of terrorism is to incite fear and terror in our populace causing our country to waste money (damaging our economy) and restrict our freedoms more and more. All three achieved the larger goal. Killing people is just one of the methods to get there.

Re:"No terrorist attacks since 9/11"? (1)

Silverhammer (13644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950056)

Fair enough.

WWII (2, Interesting)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949762)

I would argue that SECRECY was more profound during eras like World War II when things like the "Loose Lips Sink Ships" posters were in public areas like commercial shopping places and the general public was warned about not communicating ANY info about local projects like scrap drives to anyone they didn't trust.

As a note, I hold a clearance and most of the stuff that is classified is just ridiculous. Of course, there is the problem of classification due to aggregation of info, but seriously, most people would not believe what the majority of classified information encompasses.

Measure effectiveness? FAIL! (2, Insightful)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949766)

How do you measure effectiveness indeed? An attack that never occurs can never be proven to have been prevented, only attacks that actually occur can be reviewed by civilians. So that might skew the perception, but it's the only way to rate effectiveness.

The most recent example of a terrorist attack on US soil would be 9/11, and we know some things about the involvements of government agencies there:
- First of all they (CIA) funded, armed and trained the people responsible (although decades before, it had a measurable influence)
- After that their 'betrayal' and international covert operations (or more in general US involvement abroad) are mentioned by terrorist organizations as a mayor reason for their war on the US
- And last but not least these agencies knew of an impending attack prior to 9/11 and failed to protect the civilians

So according to my score they failed miserably! Given the absence of proof to the contrary it looks like the larger the (counter)intelligence in a country is the more likely that country will become involved in international terrorism and other unwanted unintended consequences. I'm really glad the Netherlands where I live does not have such massive covert operations, if the US is the example to go by it would probably cause more problems for us than it would ever solve...

iPad (-1, Troll)

notommy (1793412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949772)

Would this interactivity work on the iPad??? Stupid WP. Still using old, outdated, and unreliable technology. Are they assuming noone with an iPad could possibly be interested in anything to do with current affairs? oh right. Nevermind.

Wikileaks? (1)

nathan s (719490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949794)

I'm seeing people posting on Twitter that this was done with the help of Wikileaks. Can't seem to find verification though...

Re:Wikileaks? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950124)

Wow, really? No verification for the unfiltered twitter-banter of people who claim to have read something on the internet? I'll be over here looking shocked and whatnot.

So much money and resources (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949896)

And yet the haven't found Osama bin Laden or the Anthrax killer and still don't seem to have any clue who really killed JFK! Obviously, more money has to be spent on national security in order to solve these mysteries!

How about the An thrax attacks (0, Redundant)

christurkel (520220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949918)

"no successful terrorist acts on US soil since 9/11?"

How the Anthrax attacks shortly after 9/11?

Very difficult (4, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949930)

There has been no 9/11 since 9/11 BUT there also was no 9/11 BEFORE 9/11

The point is, terrorists are NOT like regular soldiers who are expected to keep up a steady attack to defeat the enemey. All a terrorist has to do is create terror. As long as you are afraid of a terrorist, the terrorist has done his job.

Or to turn the roles around, partisans who fought the germans were NOT judged on the number of germans they killed but on how many german soldiers they kept away from the front lines. The allies played this game to great effect, weakening the german army by forcing them to fight on all fronts at the same time. Every soldier that had to patrol "safe" ground was a soldier not fighting the allies. That is PART of the reason for city bombardments, every AA gun defending cities was not blowing up tanks.

So, how have terrorist managed to affect the US BEFORE 9/11 and AFTER 9/11?

There have been terror attacks before including on US targets, but the average US citizen failed to be afraid of them... well except for celebs being afraid to fly to europe from time to time.

Post 9/11 the average US citizen, or at least the people who claim to speak for them, have become afraid. Job done as far as the terrorists are concerned. No succesful new attacks are needed. They might even be counter productive. Shoe bomber and the nigerian just harm the cause because they look silly and you might get the Israel effect, were the population doesn't care anymore and just votes to have muslims shot on sight (move to far right in Israely politics). Last thing the terrorists want is to really piss of the US to the point that nukes start flying. Turn the desert to glass would solve the whole problem in one go.

To many attacks and terror looses its meaning, people just demand vengeance. See the total failure of city bombings in europe to demoralize the public. Nukes were needed in Japan to achieve it. 8 million vietnamese citizens killed by the US and the US still lost that war. Terror is overrated in volume. Small attacks that are rare but people still think could happen any moment are scary.

Think Doom 3. Yeah yeah, lights go out, I turn around and BOOM BOOM, dead enemy. Yawn.

There have been failed and successful attack before 9/11 and after. Most likely all the security isn't changing the numbers in any real way.

And it doesn't have to be in the US. If the madrid bombings stopped US citizens from travelling abroad: Mission accomplished.

That is way a handful of terrorists/freedom fighters can tie up a large army... and why armies fighting them often resort to killing civilians in retribution.

854,000 (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949948)

"With more than 854,000 people currently holding a TS clearance"

That is a lot of people.
Their is no way they keep much secret with that many people having access to it.

Re:854,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32950086)

Contrary to what most people think, Top Secret clearance, believe it or not, isn't actually the highest level of clearance, nor can anyone with TS clearance simply look up anything they want. Your average admin assistant can get TS clearnace. The vast majority of those 854k people don't have a "need to know".

Re:854,000 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32950156)

Speaking as someone who used to hold a TS clearance when I was in the Navy: a TS clearance does not mean that you have access to all material classified as Top Secret, it only means that you can be given access. We only actually get to see the classified material we need to do our jobs.

Anthrax? Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32949960)

What the hell are they talking about, no terrorist attacks on US soil?

Did the anthrax attacks not happen? Plane going into an IRS building not terrorism? Sniper attacks in DC not terrorism?

Proof. (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 4 years ago | (#32949968)

We cannot prove what cannot be theoretically disproved (falsified). So we cannot prove "no terrorist attacks because of Top Secret work" just because "no attacks occurred", for there is no evidence to challenge. If there were a direct link, there would be, and we would be able to.

This is an extremely powerful fake fact generating technique that politicians are all too well aware of, and what conspiracies are made of. No one can disprove UFOs, hence they exist. No, they don't exist because there is no proof. Unfalsifiable evidence is not proof, but conspiracy.

Something to keep in mind (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950002)

I see someone already brought up Virtual Case File. That's a great example of what's wrong with the federal government. The FBI selected SAIC, despite the fact that SAIC has a horrible reputation. I am not exaggerating when I say that their reputation is so bad that they make Microsoft look like it has the engineering reputation that NASA had in the mid 60s. I would sooner believe that Microsoft created a XBox that could reliably withstand combat conditions in Afghanistan in the middle of the summer with nothing more than its internal cooling (or that Windows 8 was actually fit now to be used as the weapons control system in our carrier battle groups) than someone saying that SAIC could deploy a $500M system that is the heart and soul of a major agency.

Yet... they're still getting contracts all the time, and no federal PM is thinking "sweet Jesus, if I accept their bid, my career is over" because they won't get axed for enabling the tax payer's pooch to get so screwed it can't sit for a year. The real problem is not that the feds fail spectacularly from time to time, it's that they reliably keep enabling the same fail over and over again by keeping the same civil servants and retaining the same contractors.

If you have to ask... (2, Insightful)

rinoid (451982) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950012)

Listen, USA spends more than how many nations combined on "defense" ?

It's time to END THE MADNESS now. Call your senators, representatives, neighbors, priests, doctors, whoever you think may have a pulse and explain why we should cut our defense spending today.

America's infrastructure is crumbling, the top 1% are laughing, the rest of us are in trouble.

Like Ben Franklin said... (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32950138)

854,000 people can keep a secret, if 853.999 of them are dead.
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