Coming in January 2011: Top Secret America

“A major investigation by Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and William Arkin is the subject of an upcoming hour-long FRONTLINE documentary to air in January on PBS, produced by veteran FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk.

The Post’s two-year investigation looks at the top secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001—a world that has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or how many agencies duplicate work being done elsewhere.

  • Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on Top Secret programs related to counter-terrorism, homeland security, and intelligence at over 10,000 locations across the country. Over 850,000 Americans have Top Secret clearances.
  • Redundancy and overlap are major problems and a symptom of the ongoing lack of coordination between agencies.
  • In the Washington area alone, 33 building complexes for Top Secret work are under construction or have been built since September 2001.

This is the first and most comprehensive examination of the complex system. It was reported by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Dana Priest and author, researcher, and military expert William M. Arkin.

The findings are based on hundreds of interviews with current and former military and intelligence officials and public records.

Nearly two dozen journalists worked on the investigation, including investigative reporters, cartography experts, database reporters, video journalists, researchers, interactive graphic designers, digital designers, graphic designers, and graphics editors at The Washington Post.”

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