WASHINGTON (AP) - Since the terror attacks of Sept. 11,
top-secret intelligence gathering by the government has grown so
unwieldy and expensive that no one really knows what it cost and
how many people are involved, The Washington Post reported Monday.
A two-year investigation by the newspaper uncovered what it
termed a "Top Secret America" that's mostly hidden from public
view and largely lacking in oversight.
In its first installment of a series of reports, the Post said
there are now more than 1,200 government organizations and more
than 1,900 private companies working on counterterrorism, homeland
security and intelligence in some 10,000 locations across the U.S.
Some 854,000 people - or nearly 1 1/2 times the number of people
who live in Washington - have top-secret security clearance, the
Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Post that he doesn't
believe the massive bureaucracy of government and private
intelligence has grown too large to manage, but it is sometimes
hard to get precise information.
"Nine years after 9/11, it makes sense to sort of take a look
at this and say, 'OK, we've built tremendous capability, but do we
have more than we need?" he said.
The head of the CIA, Leon Panetta, said he knows that with the
growing budget deficits the level of spending on intelligence will
likely be reduced and he's at work on a five-year plan for the
The White House had been anticipating the Post report and said
before it was published that the Obama administration came into
office aware of the problems and is trying to fix them.