NATIONAL RECONNAISSANCE OFFICE
It is a stunning glimpse at state grandeur that would be worthy of Albert Speer. In a photo expose of the National Security State that deputed on First Look Media’s online magazine “The Intercept” Trevor Paglen captures in high definition the decadence of the lavish palaces of America’s secret government. My first reaction upon seeing these pics of the headquarters of the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency was that there are one hell of a lot of parking spaces which translates into tens of thousands of riders on the big surveillance/national security gravy train that has been rolling along since just before sundown on September 11, 2001.
The photo essay also provides the budget request figures for each of these three behemoths with the NSA leading the back at $10.8 billion, the NRO at $10.3 billion and the NGA at a meager $4.9 billion - toss in the endless wars, the additional several hundred thousand contractors leeching off of the taxpayer dole and the networks of think tanks and state media propaganda mills that promote it all for mass consumption and it is no wonder that we are for all intents and purposes broke.
There has again been much consternation over the latest raising of the national debt ceiling with the House majority Leader John Boehner selling out the so-called tea party caucus to keep the whole scam running a bit longer but continuing to borrow to fund the bloated National Security beast will eventually spell our doom. While the September 11, 2001 attacks likely had a good many of heavy hitters within the establishment thinking that they had just hit the jackpot - it may just as well have been golden coins spewing forth from the smoking twin towers of the World Trade Center instead of human bodies jumping to their deaths. The biggest cash cow in modern history rose out of the smoking ruins and the pictures taken by Mr. Paglan do not do the cancerous blight of the surveillance explosion justice because there is no way to depict the sprawl that exists outside of the three massive complexes depicted.
According to the acclaimed Washington Post series “Top Secret America” by Dana Priest and William Arkin:
The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much mone it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.
Thes are some of the findings of a two-year infestigation by the Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of hte United States, 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 into place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.
The investigation’s other findings include:
* 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.
* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington D.C., hold top secret security clearances.
* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.
* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks. (The opportunity to skim some of that money or to exploit or sell access has to be enormously tempting especially when considering the often sleazy types that are attracted to such work.)
Can you say boondoggle on a mega-scale that defies belief? That is the Security State of the New American Century.
The “Top Secret America” series was published in 2010 which would mean that it used numbers compiled nearly four years ago. It is all much larger now as has been made evident by the daring and great service to his country by former government contractor turned NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden who exposed this monstrosity. The Washington Post series also did not take into account the “black budget” set aside for facilities where there are ongoing activities that are far too horrifying to ever risk having them exposed to scrutiny.
There are so many people and corporations whose very livelihoods now depend on all things related to the now fully blossomed American fascist state apparatus that has raged through the country since a mutant strain of kudzu that any serious restraint threatens to induce a vast economic shock that could trigger the collapse as quickly as any of the government subsidized bad bets made by Wall Street casinos would. This is no way to run a country and like the ongoing propping up of the gambling houses in Lower Manhattan the tightening of the screws by the surveillance industrial complex is the ONLY way to ensure continued economic growth. When this is taken into account the entire picture becomes clear, the killing of civilians in our foreign adventures ensures that there will always be enemies seeking vengeance for their slain loved ones and the violations of their basic human rights, therefore the need for more military spending. The ongoing NSA data-mining (the true scope of which has yet to be revealed) also ensures that there will be plenty of job opportunities for those who run the machines for “Top Secret America”, those who will be guarding the political prisoners when the time comes for the roundup and an endless redistribution of wealth from taxpayers who are already being crushed into research and development for even more invasive police state machinery.
Barack Obama, like his predecessor George W. Bush have been doing exactly as Stalin or Hitler did but only in a very American way, wrapped in the flag and delivered smothered in blood vengeance under the pretense of the “War on Terror”. The establishment and their surveillance machine will ensure that there will never be any shortage of “terrorists” either, the definition is vague for a reason and soon you will begin to hear that the country has been overrun by such from the likes of James Clapper, Mike Rogers, Peter King, Michael Chertoff and the rest of the opportunistic swine who have cashed in on what was intially the tragic murder of 3,000 American citizens. They and their successors - who will be even more vile and contemptous of whatever remains of the Constitution will only continue to escalate their war on America so that they themselves will always hold the keys to the kingdom - as well as the internment camps.
(Image: Trevor Paglen/The Intercept)