Top Secret America essay
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Top Secret America by William Arkin and Dana Priest (2010) is a three part series of articles on investigations by the intelligent community of the United States. The article focuses on expansion of intelligence in the government. The first part of the book talks about the growth of the secret intelligence and the redundancies in the system; resulting in the growth of the intelligence communities leading to high levels of secrecy. The large number of the intelligence community makes it hard for anyone to determine how many people are on the intelligence community and the number of groups doing the same kind of work. The second part focuses on the national security Inc. the second part states that the government is using many contractors for intelligence purposes. The third part focuses on the secrets in intelligence community. The third part provides individuals’ accounts on National Security Agency (Priest& Arkin 2010, 1).
One of the major findings of the Washington’s investigation indicates that in about ten thousand locations distributed all over the country, there are over one thousand government organizations besides two thousand private organizations dealing with intelligence matters. The work of the organizations is to enhance the level security within U.S.A, to counter terrorism, intelligence works, and counterintelligence. However, the private companies rather than the government organizations conduct the report contrasts with other reports since most of the intelligence reports. According to the national intelligence (2009) overview report for the 111 congress, most of the organizations of the intelligence community are government organizations with only a few private organizations (Office of the Director of national Intelligence 2009, 1).
According to the report, two thirds of the intelligence locations are in the defense department. Only a small number of senior officials have the knowledge on all the department’s organizations. The knowledge about some of the activities is very crucial to the government. Such knowledge, according to the overview on the intelligence community report, is classified and only a handful of officials have the knowledge about the activities. All the reports on the intelligence community indicates that the knowledge on all the activities of the intelligence community and especially the defense community lies with a few officials. However, according to the overview of intelligent community report, the definition of the people with the knowledge of the activities of the defense department is clear. In contrast, the Washington’s post investigation reports that there is no clear information on how many officials are equipped with the knowledge (Office of the Director of national Intelligence 2009, 1).
According to Top Secret America, the intelligence community organization is very complex and secretive; as a result, the public as well as top government officials do not have the knowledge on the structure of the intelligence community. The overview of the intelligence community gives a clear structure of the intelligence community in contrast to the findings of the Washington’s post (Richelson 2008, 30). Being a super power, the U.S.A is compelled to exercise high levels of intelligence because it faces numerous risks of terrorist attacks. Therefore, counterterrorism, intelligence and counterintelligence is very important to the country. Furthermore, secrecy in the intelligence operations in the country is very important. The report therefore portrays accurate information about the intelligence community to the public (Priest&Arkin 2010, 1).
The main concern arising from the Washington’s post investigations finding is the way the investigators carried out the investigations. The report claims that it is close to impossible to get information on the intelligence community, yet the report portrays a clear picture of the intelligence community. As a result, it is evident that there are loopholes in the intelligence community. The report accurately portrays the intelligence community to the public, the actual numbers of organizations dealing with intelligence is undeterminable (Priest& Arkin 2010, 1).
To conclude, the top Secret America accurately portrays the intelligence community in the U.S.A. The findings of the report are that the intelligence community in U.S.A has a complex structure, contains many organizations, and very secretive. The report finds out that there are many redundancies in the intelligent community too. Some of the findings agree with other intelligence reports but some contrast.