Top Secret America

The Washington Post begins a series today that took two years to produce, about the network of intelligence agencies and contractors that grew up in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks. It’s long, dauntingly so, but here’s an important point that jumped out at me:

The overload of hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and annual reports is actually counterproductive, say people who receive them. Some policymakers and senior officials don’t dare delve into the backup clogging their computers. They rely instead on personal briefers, and those briefers usually rely on their own agency’s analysis, re-creating the very problem identified as a main cause of the failure to thwart the attacks: a lack of information-sharing.

The story also points out that there’s massive overlap and steep learning curves. The U.S. is using contractors because the appropriations are for only one fiscal year.

I’m feeling much safer now – and thrilled that so much of the budget is being spent on redundant intelligence operations!

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