Ahead of the publication, many in the intelligence community worried that the stories would disclose too much information about contractors and the classified tasks they handle.
The Post article that appeared in Monday’s edition says its investigation uncovered “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 Post investigation found that “33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001,” or the equivalent of nearly three Pentagons.
“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,” according to the Post, which added that an estimated 854,000 people hold top-secret security clearances.
“There has been so much growth since 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 Gates told the Post last week.
“Look, we know the intelligence community grew significantly and quickly after 9/11,” a senior administration official told CNN Monday. “Some of it was inefficient. But we are looking at those inefficiencies. And remember, we have prevented attacks.”
Acting National Intelligence Director David Gompert issued a statement saying the Post’s report “does not reflect the intelligence community we know.”
“In recent years, we have reformed the (intelligence community) in ways that have improved the quality, quantity, regularity, and speed of our support to policymakers, warfighters, and homeland defenders, and we will continue our reform efforts,” he said.
“We provide oversight, while also encouraging initiative. We work constantly to reduce inefficiencies and redundancies, while preserving a degree of intentional overlap among agencies to strengthen analysis, challenge conventional thinking, and eliminate single points of failure.”
The Post said its investigation was “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 of whom requested anonymity.