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Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security Stateby Dana Priest
Synopses & Reviews
After 9/11, the United States government embarked on an unprecedented effort to protect America. The result has been calamitous: after ten years of unparalleled spending and growth, the result is that a system put in place to keep America safe may in fact be putting us in even greater danger-but we don't know because it's all Top Secret.
In TOP SECRET AMERICA, award-winning journalists Dana Priest and William M. Arkin lift the curtain on this clandestine universe. From the companies and agencies keeping track of American citizens and the military commanders building America's first "top secret city" to a hidden army within the U.S. military more secret than the CIA, this new national security octopus has become a self-sustaining "Fourth Branch" of government. A tour de force of investigative journalism, TOP SECRET AMERICA presents a fascinating and disturbing account of government run amok and a war on terrorism gone wrong in a post-9/11.
"Priest and Arkin, columnists for the Washington Post and other media outlets, won the 2010 George Polk Award for their exposÃ© of the surveillance state. Here, they blow the whistle on how, since 9/11 and the adoption of the Patriot Act, the government and its contractors use classification and security screens to conceal expenditures that have failed to enhance national security. Volumes of information defy efforts to be processed or analyzed as layers of bureaucratic intermediaries dilute command and control. For instance, Northcom (Norad's re-placement) has no command over other agencies while former Defense Secretary Gates refused to lead the new National Intelligence Directorate because the position had no real power. Furthermore, the authors contrast the disorganization of stateside security with methods employed by General Stanley McChrystal in Iraq and Afghanistan — where, for example, social networks generated cell phone user data to provide target lists for Exord special teams. Overall, this is an important book that should receive greater attention. (Sept.) Agency: Ross Youn" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The top-secret world that the government created in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks has become so enormous, so unwieldy, and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs or exactly how many agencies duplicate work being done elsewhere. The result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe may be putting us in greater danger. In TOP SECRET AMERICA, award-winning reporters Dana Priest and William Arkin uncover the enormous size, shape, mission, and consequences of this invisible universe of over 1,300 government facilities in every state in America; nearly 2,000 outside companies used as contractors; and more than 850,000 people granted "Top Secret" security clearance.
A landmark exposé of a new, secret "Fourth Branch" of American government, TOP SECRET AMERICA is a tour de force of investigative reporting-and a book sure to spark national and international alarm.
About the Author
Dana Priest is an investigative reporter for The Washington Post. She has won numerous awards, including the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for public service for "The Other Walter Reed" and the 2006 Pulitzer for beat reporting for her work on CIA secret prisons and counterterrorism operations overseas. She is the author of The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America's Military.
William M. Arkin has been a columnist and reporter with The Washington Post since 1998. He has worked on the subject of government secrecy and national security affairs for more than 30 years. He has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books about the U.S. military and national security.
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