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Mission: Un(ac)countable

   The best minds of the Buffalo News Opinion section today turned their attention to intelligence. And gardening.

- Confused intelligence - Buffalo News Editorial Board
   You just might remember this: "As always, should you or any of your IM force be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions."
   Of course, if "Mission: Impossible" leader Jim Phelps were operating in the real world of 2010, instead ofSalt the TV universe of the late '60s and early '70s, it would be more than likely that no U.S. government official would have to "disavow" anything. Officials truly might not have a clue what their own government espionage teams were up to.
   In an overwhelming series of reports that began Monday, the Washington Post outlines the astounding growth of the American intelligence apparatus in the years since the terrorist attacks of 2001.
   The Post was able to document at least 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies, scattered among at least 10,000 locations across the country, now working on some aspect of counter-terrorism, intelligence and homeland security. It was also able to count the construction of 33 top-secret building complexes -- spies always work from "complexes" -- in the Washington, D.C., area and the awarding of top-secret security clearances to 854,000 people.
   Didn't get yours? It's probably lost in the bureaucracy someplace.

   [Photo from the new spy movie "Salt," barely related to the topic at hand. Though it does provide a way to get a photo of Angelina Jolie on my blog. Also, her father, Jon Voight, played Jim Phelps in the movie version of M:I, starring Tom Cruise, who was once slated to be the star of "Salt." It all fits.]

   Related:
- The Geek Labyrinth - Fred Kaplan/Slate
   The point, or one of the main points anyway, is that this Top Secret world has expanded so quickly, with so little control, that nobody knows its costs and boundaries; nobody can keep up with all the information going in and coming out. That's the irony: The expansion took place primarily to improve the intelligence networks, to make it easier for all the various intelligence agencies to integrate their efforts, and thus to "connect the dots," so that patterns can be discerned in random data and terrorist plots can be detected and stopped in time.
- The overgrowth of intelligence programs since Sept. 11 - Washington Post Editorial 
- 'Secret America' report raises accountability concerns - Dallas Morning News Editorial
- A failing grade for 'Top Secret America'  - Thomas G. Mahnken/Foreign Policy
- Dumbing down intel - Ralph Peters/New York Post
- Bloated intelligence apparatus is not too smart - Doyle McManus/Los Angeles Times

   This show needs a theme song. I've got it:

  

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

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Behind the News | Current Affairs | Editorials | Journalism
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