July 19th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

How effective is U.S. intel with 1,300 govt. orgs & 2,000 private companies?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In the nine years since the September 11 terror attacks, the U.S. intelligence community has become so large that it's unmanageable, redundant and inefficient. Not unlike the rest of the federal government.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/19/art.top.secret.jpg caption="A 'Top Secret' page from the U.S. congressional report on the 9/11 terror attacks."]
The Washington Post reports on a stunning two-year investigation of a so-called top secret America that's hidden from the public and lacking in real oversight.


  • There are nearly 1,300 government organizations and 2,000 private companies working in 10,000 locations across the country.
  • There are 854,000 people who have top-secret security clearances.
  • There are 33 building complexes for top-secret work that are under construction or have been built just in Washington, DC since 9/11... totaling 17 million square feet of space.
  • Analysts turn out 50,000 intelligence reports every year... you can bet many of them never get read.
  • And, at least 263 organizations have been created or reorganized as a response to 9/11... that of course means hiring lots and lots of people. But don't ask where Osama bin Laden is… nobody knows.

With such a sprawling bureaucracy, it's no wonder they couldn't put together the dots in recent attacks - including the shooting at Fort Hood and the attempted Christmas day airline bombing in Detroit.

The government is pushing back against the Washington Post report. The national intelligence director says they provide oversight and work constantly to reduce inefficiencies and redundancies. What would you expect him to say?

A top Obama official adds that they're looking at inefficiencies "and remember, we have prevented attacks." Who does that sound like?

Here’s my question to you: How effective can U.S. intelligence be with nearly 1,300 government organizations and 2,000 private companies working in 10,000 locations?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

John in Hurricane, West Virginia writes:
Jack, I am a retired federal agent and I'd have to say I really don't think the traveling public is one bit safer today than they were before 9/11. It is a good example of throwing money and manpower at a problem no one seems to understand is "perception of threat" more than the threat itself. The terrorists have already accomplished one of their major goals to cause the United States to spend billions of dollars to protect itself against the perception of a threat.

Kevin in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania writes:
U.S. Intelligence can neither be very effective nor very efficient with so many agencies essentially all looking at same potential security risks. Although I have no doubt redundancy in government is the accepted norm, over 1,300 organizations does seem to be a bit of a stretch, even for the feds.

Grant writes:
Probably not very effective, Jack, if that's indeed how big it has grown. And you are right, we had trouble with the recent events you mentioned and couldn't connect the dots that lead up to 9/11 in the first place. Bigger isn't necessarily better. Better is better.

Kyle in Pennsylvania writes:
Jack, This makes absolute sense if you recall what the Bush administration declared war on after 9/11: Terror. With such a nebulous, unwieldy "enemy," a system that is just as cumbersome was bound to be built to fight it.

Michael in Alexandria, Virginia writes:
The entire organization is not effective, although I am sure there are components which are. I think the last thing anyone wants, of course, is a really effective covert intelligence apparatus that includes within its purview spying on Americans. Thank God for government inefficiency.

Lucas in Herndon, Virginia writes:
The effectiveness of the intelligence community of over a 1,000 government agencies is like a gas-guzzling SUV: all it's doing is just sucking us dry of our taxpayer money.

Dave in Altoona, Pennsylvania writes:
I'm looking for a better job, Jack. Are they hiring at the Department of Redundancy Department?

Filed under: Government • United States
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. Conor in Chicago

    I'm afraid I can't comment on that Jack. It's classified.

    July 19, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
  2. ex spook

    Well the number of gov agencies is inflated, realistically a lot are users of intel not creators. Think CNN and your affiliates. CNN counts once.

    As far as companies, who knows. That's the real waste in government.

    You can thank Cheney, he went nuts at the end of the Cold War cutting defense spending, but increasing the amount of government contractors. Most who were totally clueless about what the military used to do. Lots of real waste and stupidity.

    The ignorant management at the GS-11, GS-12 level doesn't help either. Usually enough time to get stuck, waiting to retire in 5 – 10 years. Can't fire them.

    It will never change.

    Gutting contractors and putting in real government jobs that are easy to get and accountable would be a big help. Right now system likes gamers who can play the system and not get anything done. To get ahead, play the game, its not competence.

    July 19, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  3. Russ in PA

    What a nightmare: everything the government touches turns into a nightmare. Can anyone believe that such a conglomeration of bureaucracy is anything but an accident waiting to happen?

    July 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
  4. riley oday

    NOT EFFECTIVE. They have not kept us safe. The bad guys just have not mounted an attack. It would be more effective to stand in airports and at borders. That still leaves 20 million ways to get in country.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    No part of the government is efficient, in fact none remotely resembles efficiency, so what is news, with this issue?

    Obama spends billions to create a couple hundred jobs. He shoulda just given the money to people, it would have at least put the money in the communities, and not bureaucrats pockets.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  6. Joanne

    They are a "mish mash" of crap still.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  7. david( seattle)

    what makes this worse is they ( private security) overcharge the u.s. govt , putting a bind on the budget.but, what makes this worse is when the joint terrorism task force is confronted with treason from u.s.congress/senator they say "that's not part of our job"
    in addition, national intelligence still cant put together the correlation between imported (illegal) drugs and the empowerment of the underworld.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  8. John from Alabama

    Jack: Its not the numbers that solve the puzzle, but the willingness to share the information to solve the puzzle which is more important. I believe the number of private companies could be cut as long as sharing information gathered at a central location is accomplished on an hourly basis. Information that is held is not good, but information shared to solve the intelligents puzzle is more important.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  9. Sam in Warren, RI

    If the government can't even coordinate an organized response to the oil spill disaster in the gulf coast, where livelihoods are at stake, it sure can't be effective against protecting this country against foreign enemies abroad, where lives are at stake. How do all of those organizations interact? Where does all of their information go? Who do they report to? And perhaps most importantly how do we have money for all of that? But I'm sure all of those offices and companies – a testimony to Obama's grotesque, ever-growing big government monster – do a great job at spying on all of us here at home in the United States of America.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  10. chris

    jack why did you have to metnion those numbers now i wonder how much is wasted in taxpayers we fund them but i am glad you mentioned it to wonder hoe much is wasted there

    July 19, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  11. Eugene Myers Flat, CA

    With those numbers Jack, you'd think our intelligence agencies would be totally inept. The only reason we haven't had another 9-11 attack is pure luck. Obama has appointed political numbnuts to lead national security agencies with no experience and this is going to bite us in the butt.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  12. Lene', IL

    I'm sure it is very effective in creating corruption and draining our pockets.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
  13. Greg, Hamilton Ontario

    Any organization or company can only be as good as the people in it Jack. How effective they are is relative to who your asking. Ask a politician if the intel on Iraq was effective and he/she will say "Of Coarse!". Ask the best of you that died or were wounded acting on the intel or the tax payer that has to pick up the ongoing bill for paying for everything. You will get told off pretty quick. The real question is can you do without it?

    July 19, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
  14. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Jack, the only reason "they", the Federal Goverment, keeps these organizations is to save jobs, not lives. They are probably as effective as an empty can of soup given to a starving person.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
  15. Ed from MD

    Very effective at not sharing their intelligence. Hell, i figured the FBI was one building.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm |

    tampa, fl obviously another example of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, out government is completely out of control and needs to go on a diet. eliminating nepotism, political favors, and all those not qualified to work for our government would be a great start.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
  17. Chandler in Rockaway, NJ

    Probably not very effective. Too many people think intelligence is nothing more than "getting stuff." In reality, "getting stuff" is only one-third of the job. The second part of the job is analyzing the "stuff" to it makes sense, and the third part of the job is communicating the analysis to people who need to act on it. I strongly suspect that most of the 2,300 organizations are just "getting stuff" that does not translate into better-analyzed and better communicated information. That is why after an incident, there is always someone who had a smoking gun, but failed realize what they had, or to communicate it.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  18. bennie

    Jack, for more than 30 years our intelligence have not been able to identify, stop or cleanse this country of 20 million illegal aliens. That speaks volumes for how well they do their jobs. If they don't know what to do to keep this country with 20 million unidentified aliens out of this country and keep citizens free of this invasion by unknown sources, imagine what they are doing to keep any of the real criminals out of the country unidentified no one knows who they are they are all mixed in the same 20 million crowd. this intelligence don't know who the hell are coming or going from one country to the other specifically the U.S. we are seriously unsafe and no one knows who the perps are(so they say). Intelligence should be forced to enforce all of the laws of this country because picking and choosing has led us to the disaster we now face No security &,economic failure, and we are broke as a joke because we are trying to be the savior for all the world while destroying the dreams of many American citizens.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  19. bob, oshawa, ontario

    Jack, given the situation as you have presented it, I can only ask confidently, "What could possibly go wrong here?" A case of bureaucracy run amok. I think even the old Soviet Union would wince at this situation.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  20. Jack Johnson

    50% of these people are riding the backs of the American people – in other words collecting checks for doing nothing (typical of most of those in Congress and now in this ADM especially).
    Jack J

    July 19, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  21. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    It's as effective as any business with the same amount of organizations and private companies. To say the U.S. intelligence is absolutely laughable. To gain access to any of their office I wonder if they have to empty their pockets and remove their shoes?

    July 19, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  22. Kevin in CA

    The only way to really quantify that is through failure ... and that is not exactly preferable.

    July 19, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  23. Barbara Leavitt

    The more I hear about these government agencies the more inept everyone of them seem. Seems they are just an excuse to give a son, daughter, in law or friend a job....regardless of what they know. Similar to "you're
    doing a great job Brownie"......that was not something new but just the norm. And now more and more jobs are being created ...and all the damn 'studies'. So not the time for these things but yet there is no end in sight. Pretty disgusted with how our government is run. Regardless of who is in power. They are both (parties) as bad as the other.
    Henderson Nevada

    July 19, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  24. David Gerstenfeld

    It boggles the mind to believe we have/need that many different sources for intelligence. Together their greatest achievment is the billions spent to increase the digital debt display.
    David, Las Vegas

    July 19, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  25. Joe G. (Illinois)

    Just let’s be thankful for what we don’t know won’t hurt us.. Unlike the little we do know. Soldiers fighting with one hand tied behind the other, going back and forth sucking up bullets like rubber ducks till the enemies exhaust their ammunition supplies.. Oh.. Yes.. Intel says that they keep coming in from neighboring countries all time.. Oh well.. Like I said!

    July 19, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  26. Dan from Nashua, NH

    This question has already been answered, only 12 years earlier. When George W. Bush used the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he basically stripped the boots on the ground (remember..the armorless humvees?), and he gave it to people who would bring his campaign coffers more cannon fodder that would allow Al Queda to make this country look like a bunch of bumbling dolts in the global intelligence community. It would be a big help if President Obama can return this intelligence work to the people who are trained by this country's government, rather than allow a bunch of wannabe temporary employees with criminal records, and other problems to become amateur spies. Cutting this budget now, would probably help this country's deficit right now!

    July 19, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  27. Mark, Oklahoma City

    I don't know, Jack, but for a minute there I thought you were talking about our public school system!

    July 19, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  28. IKHAN san jose ca

    Hi Jack,

    well this octopus is very effective with tentacles sticking to every word that an American citizen utters , to phones every time you or I pick up one or switch on our cell or send an e-mail or make a move.

    How more effective can the Intel be??

    July 19, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  29. JENNA

    How effective can U.S. intelligence be with nearly 1,300 government organizations and 2,000 private companies working in 10,000 locations?

    None of it matters Jack if one hand doesn't talk to the other..

    Roseville CA

    July 19, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  30. Fred R DeLeon SR

    Jack, that's a darn good question. Bless you for it.... If we can't take GOOD CARE of our borders to Mexico and Canada I don't think we will be able to watch 1300 government organizations, 2000 private companies working in 10,000 locations. Not including labor unions.
    This is one of your best questions ever.

    Fred R DeLeon SR
    Indianapolis IN

    July 19, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  31. Jayne

    Since we aren't privy to all the information, we have no idea whether they're inefficient or not. I'm bothered that paranoia over 9/11 has become a cottage industry. What the heck are 2,000 private companies doing when it comes to government intelligence? I smell profiteering.

    July 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  32. Janne from NC

    I dont understand what your question is, sounds like a typical government operation to me.

    July 19, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  33. Roy

    It was not very effective prior to 09/11/2001. What on this great earth makes them think it would be anymore effective by growing it. It has become a double negative like( Military Intellegience or We are from the Government, we're here to help).

    Red Bluff, Ca.

    July 19, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  34. Annie, Atlanta

    There are certainly no government secrets anymore. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn't it?

    July 19, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  35. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Almost as effective as stopping the Mexicans from crossing the border. There is probably terrorist in the U. S. Intelligence service. with over eight hundred thousand working for Homeland Security there are without a doubt spys working work us.

    July 19, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  36. Liz, Los Angeles, CA

    Remember the old saying "too many cooks spoil the broth...?" Well, this time the broth is the security of the American people, 'nuf said?

    July 19, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  37. Greg Turman

    This should not be a surprise. The government is not affective nor efficient in anything they do.

    Wait until Obamacare replaces 500,000 private insurance employees with 1,000,000 government workers with no experience.

    Let the good times roll !

    Gregory Turman

    July 19, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  38. Lori - PA


    With all of those people, how can anyone keep track of what's going on? How does anyone know which piece of the puzzle they are responsible for? And all of those bruised toes. What ever happened to less is more?

    July 19, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  39. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    If you recall, the DHS was supposedly formed to bring all intelligence and security bureaucracies into one tent and compact them so as to be more communicative and more able to connect the dots more efficiently. Obviously just the opposite happened. But then that’s what happens when you elect an idiot as president and a misanthrope as a vice president – twice. Not to let a bad thing alone, now we have a president who does nothing after promising to right all the wrongs of the previous administration. We get what we deserve – I think.

    July 19, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  40. Chris

    Any government organization that is that big and cumbersome is inevitably ineffective. Leave it to government to create a uselessly large organization for such a vital function.

    July 19, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  41. Joe Ft Walton Bch Fl

    US intelligence was always effective. But it still depends how serious we take the threat of an attack. Will we thwart an attack, or wait till it happens as we did in 9/11.

    July 19, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  42. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Most of them are reading our mail and listening to our phone calls while Rome is flame. It's the economy stupid.

    July 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  43. Bertina

    Why not just blame Obama.

    July 19, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  44. LouAz

    "We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to fom up into teams, we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, ineffieiency, and demoralisation."
    Gaius Petronius, A.D. 66

    July 19, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  45. T. Thomas in Abilene, Tx.

    Well, it hasn't been able to locate a 6'5" terrorist sporting a beard and turban, riding a camel and possibly dragging a portable dialysis machine behind him-so I'd say not very effective.

    July 19, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  46. Kevin in Dallas

    I would like for the National Intelligence Director to go ahead and name all 1,300 government intelligence organizations. I mean, if he's working to reduce inefficiencies and redundancies, then surely he not only knows what their organization's name is, but what they do.

    July 19, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  47. William F. Daly

    More staff for the bureaucracies, more contracts for consultants, and information overload. Another day in the USG.

    July 19, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  48. Tina Tx

    And most of these govt workers waste time on the job and they need to clean house and fire most of them and the others would get their behinds busy

    July 19, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  49. Dee in Woodstock GA

    I think you already know the answer to your question, don"t you?

    From your stats presented here I would say our intel "system" is a total joke! IMHO, the MAIN problems are:

    Too many agencies and agents, all playing the territorial game.

    Too few INTELLIGENT people in our INTELLIGENCE services.

    The whole "system" seems to be run by a bunch of kids, each trying to one-up the other.

    HEY GUYS, WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME SIDE HERE!!!! Get your act in order!

    July 19, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  50. shawn m

    sounds like it's time to hire an INTEL CZAR to straighten this mess out...how about Rod Blagojevich! He's got CZAR-like hair.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  51. Burbank

    Obviously not very effective at all. It would be nice if they could redirect some of these people into finding the illegal aliens in this country as wekk as finding and arresting the people who hire and rent housing to them. The enablers are much more criminal than the aliens themselves.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  52. Chris

    I know it is the common cliche, however, we do not hear nor read about the triumphs of the intelligence community – only the failures. Is the system perfect – no. Is there some overlap and redundancy – yes. Is that a bad thing – not totally. I would rather have multiple agencies, divisions and private firms viewing data and information that is keeping the U.S. safe rather than not having it at all.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  53. Kyle Irvine, CA

    You're right on Jack,
    The top secret agencies are way to large to work effectively. Bin Laden is either dead or still hiding in exile in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  54. Paul Ernest Show, Nashville

    Jack, stay the hell away from these agencies. Their jobs ain't just easy. I have great respect for their courage and sacrifices. Let's not distract them with our media analogies and politics. What happens within this secret world stays within it, brother. Certain things are better left alone.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  55. tcaros

    We never needed more intel, we needed to investigate what we had for cirminal conduct and complicity with terror attacks and anthrax letters.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  56. Juanita from Detroit

    When you consider that there are at least 195 countries in the world populated by over 7,000,000,000, people it doesn't seem so bad. Should they be trying to streamline and become more efficient? Of course they should. It seems that negativity and cynicism is the order of the day especially among news commentators.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  57. Steve in Spokane

    Jack, Most Top-Secret jobs never even have access to terrorist related activity, they are more administrative in nature and would never have anything to do with terrorism. That being said, a LOT of money is wasted doing these Federal Background checks that are required for a TS clearance, and should never BE required just because you are on a Federal Installation. (As mine was)

    July 19, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  58. Mike, Texas

    Seems like we spend a lot of money for very little return.

    How about all of these mental giants get working on finding and eliminating Osama Binladen. Then we can bring our boys home, and then they would have been worth the cost.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  59. Bill, Bloomington Il

    Jack, after it is all said and done, dems and repubs are alike in so many ways. I dont know what we are fighting over anymore.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  60. Geoffrey in Lowell, MA

    I'll use small words so Deficit Hawks can understand. If you can only do Algebra with a single variable (Deficit) then all excessive government is fair game. However, this like all issues these days, are an equation in multiple variables. Thanks to education cuts over the last 30 years, it's not surprising that many of your listeners don't know what I mean.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  61. Joe from Brigantine, NJ

    I knew that our Intelligence structure was fractured among too many organizations each with their own agenda and turf but I had no idea it was as bad as the numbers in your piece. It is impossible to manage such a mess. Thank God we were not as turf conscious in WWII or we would still be fighting that war. A serious cost saving shake up is badly needed.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  62. Gary H. Boyd

    50 years ago I was a senior enlisted man in the U. S Coast Guard and had a TOP SECRET/CRYPTOGRAPHIC clearance. It cost the Coast Guard a lot of money for the background investigation that had to be done on me for the clearance. Today that cost is obviously much greater and, when multiplied by the number of folks holding one, the total for just this one aspect of our national security is, no doubt, incredible. As to how effective can it be - there's simply no way to judge since they're just too spread out.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    July 19, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  63. Meg from Troy

    Here's an area where simpler certainly would be better. Time to centralize and merge. Save some money too, I bet.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  64. Bill

    Is any of this surprising? We have become a country of frightened children. The aftermath of 9/11 has been a godsend to the right wing paranoid nut jobs. Security clearances are a tool used to fight hippies, and not much else. Jack put it best:

    "And, at least 263 organizations have been created or reorganized as a response to 9/11... that of course means hiring lots and lots of people. But don't ask where Osama bin Laden is… nobody knows".

    July 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  65. Mr D

    Osama is sitting in his cave somewhere laughing his head off. He has started a whole new industry in this country funded by taxpayer's money. Never so many have chased so few with zero results. Talk about the military/industrial complex. This will soon pale besides our "security make work" complex. What a country.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  66. Doug


    No large bureaucracy can do a credible job on any project, let alone 1300 orgainizations in 10000 locations. Look no further than the gulf oil spill for examples of bureaucratic efficiency (Not!). Just one example; requiring an environmental impact study prior to putting up berms to protect the marshes from the crude. Yep, that's what we need....big government with decisions being made by bureaucrats in a vacuum.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  67. JOE CE

    US intel has looked better lately stopping some terrorists and spies. Also more success in taking out Tailban leaders but it is time for review – seems like too many organizations each with its own overhead & bureauracy which spells ineffficiency and excess cost.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  68. Jim in Florida

    The number of "intel" organizations and companies reported by the Washington Post is misleading. They are co8nting Naval Air Stations and Naval Stations as government "organizations". What a shocker, huh Jack, top secret work going on at Naval Air Stations and Naval Bases (for example. This has absolutely nothing to do witht he attack at Fort Hood. If the Fort Hood perps superiors had done what they should have done that attack would not have happened (and again it has nothing to do with the number of organizations or companies.

    The Washington Post work is inane, their conclusions are badly flawed and one has to question the paper's underlying motive which is apparently an effort to further reduce the scope and size of funding for intelligence related activities. Since it comes from the Washington Post one has to wonder if they have the best interests of national security at heart. Who do you trust to keep us safe, the government or the Washington Post?

    Let's apply the same logic to the Social Security Administration and their contractors and supporting companies, so forth and so on.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  69. Chandra

    On one hand I think our intelligence community has been effective. However, on the other hand I certainly think that Redundancy is the word of the day. We could probably do a better job with less government organizations, because there is no way they even have time to communicate with one another effectively. And we are still waiting for Osama bin Laden to be found...fyi.

    Clearwater, Florida

    July 19, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  70. David Scott Doherty

    Effective at what, spending our money? If there's 1,300 government organizations and 2,000 private company's and 10,000 locations wouldn't that mean there are 6,700 empty locations, do the math Jack, there's a whole lot of phones going unanswered and a whole lot of checks being cashed.
    Dave from NH.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  71. patrick in Westminster, MD

    Jack – I find this question to be totally ironic considering the current jobless situation in our Country and an illustration of how out of step the media is with this issue. How do we know that we have enough people in intelligence, in physical and cyber security? Consider the thousands of targets for extremists – dams,power plants, chemical companies, water companies, banks and not to mention the hundreds of Shipping ports that need to be secure. As one of those analysts generating reports I can assure you the important ones get read and are paid for. Can Washington manage it better? Probably. Is it a sprawling bureacracy? Maybe , but not having it is much more dangerous. Is it an area generating jobs for Americans? You bet it is.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  72. Andrew

    Engineers should be the one's running huge programs like this. Since they are logical, methodical and percise; it is fits the profile of someone needed to organize and delegate all 3,300 organizations. If i had to pick the leaders in my world, they would all be engineers.

    Dayton, Ohio

    July 19, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  73. Raymond, Englewood FL

    The Washington Post writers learned in the 1970s to "follow the money". Once again, doing so led them to discovering this behind-the-scenes network -especially in the private sector – generated solely for the creation of wealth under the guise of national security. It has to be inefficient for no other reason than the government agencies will fight over jurisdiction and the private companies will worry only about the bottom line. The more privatized our intelligence agency becomes, the less safe we all are. National security is the responsibility of the national government, not private enterprise.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  74. Phil, CA

    The more organizations and private companies you're only going to have information-hording just like we did in the wake of 9/11 and the Iraq invasion. Just like Paul Brenner in Baghdad, he was nothing but a self-promoter looking to be the Lone Ranger in getting to the bottom of – nothing. Evrybody wants kudos at anothers' expense. Face it, we have sufficient federal organizations but they suffer from this syndrome of info-hording and not communicating to/from the local levels enough.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  75. Bill Belknap

    What a great question to be asking. What if we had 1300 different military organizations? Or Google had 1300 divisions. I don't think there is a leadership or management model out there to effectively manage the "mess."

    July 19, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  76. jeff jackson, alabama

    Jack, you didn't ask that question when W was
    president. You blamed him for our intelligence
    Where's all the venom spewing now ?

    July 19, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  77. Ron


    We couldnt even spell reset properly in russian and we were engaged in a cold war for years with them.

    I think this so called " intelligence" community should be condensed. into only a few organizations and even less private companies, all coherent and working together.

    The number of locations doesnt bother me because we have the internet and they should be able to communicate with one another. But still, thats 200 secret facilities per state. seems excessive for such economic tough times.

    Miami FL.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  78. Honest John in VT

    With so much "intelligence" the terrorists must be trembling in fear. How much does all this cost Jack? Either we are the richest country or the most stupid country in the world.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  79. Jack in Des Moines

    Osama Bin Laden isn't hiding in a cave somewhere. He is hiding in an office somewhere buried in bureaucracy.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  80. Bryan Brown

    Maybe we don't read (remember) history. The 'reason' the agencies didn't anticipate 9-11 was stated to be a lack of communication, at that time, between CIA and FBI (and others). Now, how do we IMPROVE that by vastly increasing the dots, and dot counters, which no one is connecting very well from the beginning?

    From my limited perspective, it seems we are often "saved" by the failures and inefficiencies of our antagonists. That's a nervous position.

    We forget the old worst-case imagined scenario from the atomic race: a ship-captain in New York harbor calls the White House: "we have a nuclear device on board: feed our home country now!"

    Diplomacy and justice planned ahead can create more security than chasing bad guys after the fact.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  81. Paul In Dallas, TX

    This question is silly Jack.

    None of us are in a position to say now are we? If those numbers were cut in half would that be acceptable? How about a 2/3 reduction? Get the point?

    July 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  82. ChicagK

    I suspect that the truth terrorists in the news media need a major terrorist event in the US to help prop up sales! The Post is just trying to get a million Americans killed! I canceled a newspaper today! Everyone should cancel their newspaper until the truth terrorists are weeded out and unbiased, honest, intelligent people join the media!

    July 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  83. don ramsey

    with the formation of all the additional beauracracies and departments, each to deal with another aspect of a single problem, the efficiency of these various bodies reminds me of an old saying that " a camel is a horse designed by comittee.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  84. Lene', IL

    Too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth.... Just more government inefficiency. I'll bet you most of the jobs created are nothing more than a bunch of nimrods in positions of power who haven't got a clue and sit around doing nothing all day but collect exorbitant paychecks which is typical of government. The private companies..lol What good are they when all they think about is turning a profit? Where does there intelligence go, to the highest bidder?

    July 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  85. Brendan

    I can't help but think they are receiving advice on how to stay organized from ex-Enron managers, who used off balance sheet entities the way our spy agencies use government organizations.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  86. Claude Wayne

    Simply follow the money to discover who is getting richer as a result of this debacle. Secretly appropriating and spending money among friends is simply as criminal as it gets, No attacks.....we have merely been lucky.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  87. Craig Bradford

    Certainly inefficiencies will happen, but keep in mind that intelligence cannot be all inclusive and all accurate. After all, we are absolutely looking for a needle in a haystack. Does anyone still remember how difficult it was to find Patty Hearst?

    July 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  88. Scott

    This article is ridiculous. Just because an organization is large does not mean it is inefficient or redundant. There is no evidence presented here that anything is wrong with the intelligence organization. Just some examples of how large it it and Cafferty's baseless knee-jerk criticisms.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  89. John

    In this field, expansion can be beneficial.The federal government and local law enforcement, especially the NYPD significantly increased its intelligence staff and formed larger counterterroism task forces after 9/11. These have proven effective in not only attack prevention but also in the capture of prosecution of militant extremists, as the swift highly competent response to the Times Square plot demonstrated. Unnecessary spending should be trimmed, but don't rush to the chopping block with the budget of the most important component of our shared national defense.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  90. Mike

    So what do you propose – 1 guy reading and writing all the reports? Maybe 10 smaller reports lead to 1 combined summary and 10 summaries lead to yet another summary and that is the one read by the president every morning. That would clear out 36500 reports as being read every day. Pretty sure others read the remaining 14000 reports.

    If the cut all these people then in two years we will read about how the next attack happened because the government cut from 1,300 organizations into 500..........

    July 19, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  91. John

    In this field, expansion can be beneficial.The federal government and local law enforcement, especially the NYPD significantly increased its intelligence staff and formed larger counterterroism task forces after 9/11. These have proven effective in not only attack prevention but also in the capture and prosecution of militant extremists, as the swift highly competent response to the Times Square plot demonstrated. Unnecessary spending should be trimmed, but don't rush to the chopping block with the budget of the most important component of our shared national defense.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  92. Matt - Boston, MA

    Jack, the intelligence community needs to put greater emphasis on human intelligence – spies on the ground – in order to determine what information is truly important. If we keep relying more on electronic data sources, we will inevitably be swarmed with more information than we are capable of analyzing efficiently.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  93. Steve

    I would think that its impossible to be effective or efficient given the facts you state..Tell me Jack, what do the "smaller government" faction think about this? There used to be an old song that had a line in it.."paranoia will destroy ya"....sad, and probably not cheap

    July 19, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  94. Sean

    I don't think this is a fair question. However, one measure of success would be the total number number of terrorist on U.S. soil SINCE 9/11. The intelligence community does not invent the work they are asked to do. These request come from our government. Maybe we should look at what they are being asked to do to keep America safe and be ahead of those who wish to do us harm. As American's (being an ex-Marine) I think many of us "whine" and complain too much! The average American does not have enough infomation to trully make a reasonable assessment of our intelligence capabilities. People, we just sent 10+ Russian spies home!?!? Is it time to close shop now? Will our enemies eliminate their goals simply because some of us NOT in the know feel it may be too expensive to continue watching for them? Please people. This endless moaning has got to stop! Go create some jobs, lose some weight, and look somewhere else to take out your frustration. Cutting intelligence will not solve America's problems.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  95. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, the answer can be found simply by looking at the most recent incidents. The Christmas bomber only failed to kill hundreds because he could not get the device to explode. The times square bomber only failed because he couldn't rig the fuse correctly. The next one the intelligence community misses will probably get it right and kill several hundred innocent people. This quagmire of intelligence gathering is good at catching failures, however, I'm betting they are reactive, not proactive, and that is a failure.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  96. Tom from Houston Texas

    First of all Jack, Governmebt and intelligence is a 'contadiction of
    terms'. My bet is they are every bit as effective as FEMA,, just bigger,and maybe less organized. and probably less cost
    affective, and;;;;;;;;forget it I'm getting depressed!

    July 19, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  97. Adam in Colorado

    Sounds expensive, but besides that, it sounds dangerous. The more moving parts you have, the better chance you have of something going wrong.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  98. Susan Frost

    My father worked as a heavy equipment mechanic on a military base in the 50's and 60's. He had a security clearance but the janitor, who had a key to every damn building on the place, didn't! And so it goes....

    Tuscaloosa AL 35404

    July 19, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  99. Cam

    With waste like this it's no wonder that we continue to have soaring deficits that are growing like a cancerous tumor. It’s time to cut up the credit cards for these fat cats in Washington. Stop wasting the people’s money.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  100. Dennis north Carolina

    Iwould say not to effective and over employed to be effective.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  101. Terry

    Well. You have to give them credit in that there has not been another 911 type attack. Several attempts at terriosts attacks have been prevented. Starting with the BUSH ADMINISTRATION and so far, with the Obama Administration the intelligence community has done a good job. I tend to worry about this administration just because 911 is getting further and further away and people and intelligence agents/workers tend to forget. Also, with the economic crises there may be calls for some of these government agencies to cut back or reorganize.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  102. skorpeo

    and where is the republican cry about "big government"?

    san diego, ca.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  103. Tavaris

    Part of the problem Jack, is that the Gov't never asks how can we make agency "A" preform better. They simply say lets create agency "B" to moniter agency "A". Then if that doesn't work they create agency "C" to watch agency "B" who is watching agency "A". It's insane.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  104. jeff Redondo Beach

    Having spent most of my adult life in the intelligence business, I can easily tell you that there is so much redundancy, overlap, and unnecessary activiities in the intelligence business no one can take the chance of being wrong on a call. The President is briefed daily on current events by the intelligence community and that briefing is vetted with a fine tooth comb to insure everything he's told is accurate and without any negative "PC" connotations. It is rare for a career intell professional to stick his/her neck out because if you do and you are wrong or slightly off track, then that "error" lives with you and affects your career forever. In addition, there is considerable competition between the various agencies, NSA, CIA, DIA etc. They are always fighting for funds, so they cannot afford errors of any size or shape.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  105. Clay


    So what good are they, Jack? The missed the fall of the Soviet Union and Berlin Wall, and missed on 9/11, or so they say. The main thing these people do is clasify stuff so that the American public can't see it, as in the case of Cheney and his personal, "Treated as SCI " even though there was nothing classified about it, except that the material would probably be sufficient to indict both Cheney and Bush. And the NSA spends as much or more time spying on Americans as anyone else. The entire srtucture is corrupt and should be torn down. They're much more of a liability than an asset.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  106. Eric Wasek

    Take a second and look at the statistics. There are 1,300 government organizations and 2,000 private companies who are working in 10,000 locations. U.S. intelligence can not possibly be shared effectively between these tens of thousands of agencies/companies and their locations. The "circle" of agencies and companies that recieve intelligence should be set on a need to know basis. Certainly all of these thousands of compaines and agencies do not need to know certain intel, and doing this will also protect secret intelligence from getting into the wrong hands. The bottom line is that no, U.S. intel is not being shared between all of these tens of thousands of organizations effectively, and it needs to change on the basis of who needs to recieve certain intel.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  107. Michael, Alexandria, VA

    The entire organization is not effective, although I am sure there are components which are. I think the last thing anyone wants, of course, is a really effective covert intelligence apparatus that includes within its purview spying on Americans. Thank God for government inefficiency.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  108. Scott

    There needs to be a 5 part Intelligence structure in this country:
    1. Domestic Intelligence (FBI?)
    In charge of all domestic intellgence activities and operations.
    2. Digital Intelligence (NSA?)
    In charge of all communication, code breaking and technologically specific intelligence activities.
    3. Foreign Intelligence (CIA?)
    In charge of all foreign intelligence gathering outside of the US
    4. Covert Operations
    Carries out all clandestine, covert, and top secret activities needed
    5. Overall Intellegence Command
    In charge of all other intelligence branches. Has complete oversight and signoff of all activities. Reports directly to President and Congress. Facilitates the flow of intelligence between all agencies and provides a central place for all information gathered.
    *Note: Maybe create one more part to handle all military intelligence gathering. Regardless, all parts would collect information and feed it to a single sourcewith congressional oversight, where information is accessible by all parts.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  109. Beau

    I love this post!!! Thanks for putting this up online. If we the people don't know about it or have to dig for information about it – it should not exist. That's all there is too it – close it all down. All the security that's being employed for all this stuff, all the tax dollars....shut it all down and put it towards the deficit. Except for the big stuff, we the people don't need anyone to protect us. The way fear is spread in todays world is out of control and it is done to promote spending for this kind of stuff. No more! Great post Caff.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  110. Nick in WA

    'National Security', while ostensibly being about 'protection' and 'defense' against things like 'terrorism' is, at heart more about empire building. As Western corporate imperialism is increasingly met with firmer resistance and as returns on investment in imperialism (in the form of interest payments and natural resources from the thrid world) decline, the United States finds itself needing to spend more and more on 'National Security' to protect its interests (read: maintain flows of real wealth into the U.S.) This comes in the form of increasingly large, complex, costly, and more numerous orgainizations charged with such tasks, and is a completely predictable economic consequence of our covert policies of imperialism to maintain bloated and unsustainable standards of living.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  111. John, Lake Charles, LA

    The National Intelligence Director has no direct control over any of these agencies or contractors. That is absurd. There should be only one intelligence agency with only one director who has direct and total control over what they do and where they do it and who they do it to. Only then can you expect the proper sharing of information, the proper database population, the proper response to national security threats, etc.

    What we have now is a bunch of infighting between agencies with nobody in total control. Turf wars are not what "we the people" expect from our intelligence community. And "we the people" need to start demanding that the intelligence community finally show some intelligence.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  112. Kevin in Paducah, Kentucky

    If there are that many people with clearence and that many organizations and companies, i would say they should be very effective but they are not. We're in alot of troulble.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  113. J.


    The problem here is not the number of people that are (or are not) in the field gathering data. Not the number of buildings being used to compile that data. It is that there is no one agency that is in charge of all of the above. This especially true of any outside firm that is working for the intelligence agencies. The data that is being collected is (or should be) valuable. It needs to be disseminated correctly.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  114. Jef P.

    It's an oxymoron...it amazes me how the United States can NEVER find a "happy medium" on anything it does.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  115. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    We have effective intelligence where it is important to have effective intelligence. If Richard Clark were to hand this President a PDB titled, "Bin Laden Determined To Strike In the US," This president would not ignore it.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  116. Mary Williams

    Absolutely. This is why the government is so incompetent. ALL of it. I personally feel my children and grandchildren are doomed.
    All we get from the people who are supposed to care about and protect us for which they are paid handsomely, hate us. They law us to death. The main goal of the powers that be is to distract us so we can't really see what's in front of us. If they can't get this in gear, we may not be the land of plenty much longer. There are too many who don't want it fixed. Tellico Plains, TN

    July 19, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  117. anothergreatfultobefree

    whats crazy is ther isnt much talk about all the ones that are stoped and dont get to kill our families !!! alot of people complain and critisize but never mention how free the US is because of these organizations and all the jobs it created

    July 19, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  118. Josiah

    Jack, it's just yet another thing that Bush & Co. set in motion – it will take years for all that they have done to come to light – as usual a Republican presidency is used to expand Big Business, Big Government, steal away liberties from citizens & bankrupt America in the process.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  119. Lee

    We tried doing it "efficiently" and on the cheap in the 90s, see where that got us? There have been successes also, like Zazi, for just one example, funny you failed to mention that.

    Lee S
    Ashburn, VA

    July 19, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  120. Michael Shea

    Jack,if you remember, President John F. Kennedy was going to do away with the CIA after they fouled up with the "Bay of Pigs" invasion of Cuba. JFK fired Allen Dulles the Director of the agency and many more. The CIA also stuck their nose to far in Viet-Nam.

    JFK planned to have direct control over the new intelligence agency.Kennedy also planned to take the Joint Chiefs of Staff out of the Pentagon under his direct control because all of them especially General Curtiss Lemay wanted to bomb Cuba back to the Stone Age during the Cuban Missle Crisis.Kennwdy also had the same plans for the FBI because J. Edgar Hoover became a dictator of that agency.
    Only Bobby Kennedy stood up to Hoover when he was Attorney General.

    Many of us are convinced that both JFK and RFK were assassinated because of their plans to dismantly these agencies.

    George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld let our intelligence community run amuck following 911. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. something is wrong when a highly paid mercenary Army is allowed to do the job of our own armed forces in the name of Black Water.

    It is unconstitutional when President W. Bush enacts the Patriot Act that wire tap conversations of American citizens. We have slid back to the days of the House Un-American Committee and the Commie Witch Hunts. Where is our modern day Ed Murrow ?

    Iam hopeful that president Obama will wake up and smell the coffee and put an end to this treachury !!

    July 19, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  121. Keith - Twinsburg, Ohio

    And one fact that probably should be mentioned here Jack, is the fact that our government's communication systems & networking is out of date and almost nonexistant... This fact belongs up there on the top, somewhere.

    Our government is top-heavy, and not much of it is working for us.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  122. Justin

    I've been told that US intelligence agencies have high resolution satellites in orbit that can take a picture of a dime lying on a side walk in New York City...during rush hour traffic. Yet after almost a decade of tireless searching we can't find one person...hiding in a cave...on a mountain. I guess the results speak for themselves. The IRS can track you down and throw you in prison for not paying your taxes but damned if the CIA, NSA and Homeland Security can quite get a finger on things. Orchestrate one of the most brazen and costly terrorist attacks in history and you can hide out for quite awhile. Forget to file a 1040 and you can bet your ass they'll find you.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  123. George from North Carolina

    Quite effective if the goal is to hide things from ourselves. I guess what we don't know we're doing nobodyelse will know either.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  124. Eric

    We've absolutely over-extended ourselves, and yes it has become redundant in certain areas. Agencies do not share information willingly, but I've heard people saying we're not safer today than before and I think thats dead wrong. We don't ask for a pat on the back, we're protecting people everyday and nobody knows about it. Yeah the "underwear bomber" gets through, a incident here or there, but you have to understand that potential disasters get thrwarted every day and nobody asks for recognition, we just do our job.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  125. John

    Seeing the insane numbers involved makes me want to see the same type of breakdown for other government function HHS, HUD, DOL, SOT, etc......

    July 19, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  126. Rob

    I used to be in Military Intelligence and also used to be an instructor for the military. The bureaucracy is VERY thick, and I do think that it is unmanageable. When I had soldiers come through and I did not believe they had the skills to pass, I would have a Lt. Col. or Commander tell me to pass them anyway, and that they would learn down range. They just needed the bodies for the head count, not the skills. I believe that there is a serious problem within the Intelligence community, which is why I left and have not looked back. Even though I could be making 3 times the money I do now, I do not feel right risking the lives of soldiers and civilians just to appease the governments' head count of soldiers and intelligence people.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  127. John, Fort Collins, CO

    It appears to me the U.S. government is trying to prove the theory that an infinite number of monkeys sitting at an infinite number of computer keyboards will eventually produce the complete works of William Shakespeare or the precise location of Osama bin Laden. However, it is much more probable they will turn out billions of pages of unintelligible information costing billions of dollars.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  128. dennis

    Obviously not at all. I do think that people confuse the words effective and efficient though. These separate organizations are probably incredibly efficient individually. I dont think there is any way to effectively manage them all though. Consolidation of these organizations and streamlining of the processes and red tape involved would greatly benefit the effectiveness. A lot of times we forget that if someone has to walk down a hallway to deliver a message, and that has to be done a thousand times, you can have a great idea never reach its intended goal.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  129. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    It is too large. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. Too much duplication of effort. A truly unmanagable mess.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  130. cliff

    Okay...the math doesn't add up here. Thirteen-hundred gov't organizatins, two-thousand private companies, and ten-thousand locations to beat up couple hundreds of terrorists. This sounds like an one-sided battle here. We are way out numbered by the terrorists. We need to man up.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  131. Kevin, Chester Springs, PA

    U.S. Intelligence (now there's an oxymoron for you, Jack!) can neither be very effective nor very efficient with so many agencies essentially all looking at same potential security risks. Although I have no doubt redundancy in government is the accepted norm, over 1,300 organizations does seem to be a bit of a stretch, even for the feds. The question I have for you Mr. Cafferty is what politician has the chuztpah to start cutting down on these agencies and risk being seen as soft on terrorism? Methinks not a one has the cojones to do anything substantive except to express the appropriate outrage. Or maybe establish a "bipartisan" commission!

    July 19, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  132. ToGetherWeStand

    I believe that this has been the fruit of the 7 years of panic and fear-mongering which followed 9/11. At this point, it is important to re-evaluate what is workng and what is not, and to identify what needs to be optimize.

    It has been almost 9 years since the attack on the Twin Towers. Whatever National Security mechanisms we have in place must be up-to-date to handle both the old and new threats. There must also be a very strong focus on cyberterrorism.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  133. dan

    if it is that bad that we should monitor it, then we should probably do more like uh i dont know eliminate the threat!

    we spend to much time writing reports rather than removing threats..

    July 19, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  134. Steve Cunnagin

    So it's very likely there's a lot of bloat and inefficiency here – it's too easy to write it all off as unnecessary bureaucracy. Is there a GAO report on the matter? Does it confirm the Washington Post report? The administration promised transparency and while it may feel it can't divulge the details of the existing intel infrastructure without exposing it to harm, there should be full disclosure on what has been removed due to "inefficiencies and redundancies". Show us that folks are working to make it better! Show the transparency and accountability that we were promised!

    July 19, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  135. Kurtis, New Haven

    My problem isn't so much with the size of the "intelligence" operation, but that so much of it is outsourced to private companies. This is an outrage of epic proportions. How many of these companies are influenced, if not outright owned, by foreign interests? Is there anyway to know for sure? It doesn't sound so intelligent when I read this out loud.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  136. Mary

    Ok, seriously.The words Government intelligence is an oxymoron. Look at Congress, doesn't it remind you of a 3 stooges movie? Mary – Phoenix

    July 19, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  137. Tom in SunnyCalifornia

    Dear Mr. Cafferty and fellow readers:

    If you find the current state of affairs in regard to our intelligence community’s size and effectiveness then I suggest that each of you read the following book: “Robert Kennedy and His Times” by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. to glean insight into the problems of a “police state” and “hyperactive intelligence organization”.

    The FBI, the CIA, and the NSA to name a few, along with that paragon of service and intelligence the “TSA” reflect the absolute silliness of people’s over zealous preoccupation with “plots” and “buggy men” attempting to subvert and over-turn our “way of life” in the States.

    To those people who supported the “USA Patriot Act”, the police state and fear tactics of our government you have the government you wanted. I suggest if you are tired of this nonsense then do as I plan to do this November and vote for people who wish to restore sensibility to the way we govern our country; otherwise, you better get use to an every expanding police state and associated consequences.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  138. Gabriel

    I'm not sure what you're getting at. Seems to me like the report means we need more in the intelligence community. Are you saying the government would do better with fewer people to read those reports?

    July 19, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  139. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio


    This is an excellent probability question! The probability of effectiveness would be one in (1,300 X 2000 X 10,000) . But it could be much less.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  140. Grant

    Probably not very effective Jack if that's indeed how big it has grown. Ane you are right, we had trouble with the recent events you mentioned and couldn't connect the dots that lead up to 9/11 in the first place. Bigger isn't necessarily better. Better is better. I'm not in the intel business so I can't offer any advice on that but I can tell you that adding more people, more buildings, and more agencies is just going to make the problems we have (ie connecting the dots), well, bigger.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  141. NoWay

    Ever since 9/11 the far right ultra protection mentality has wasted billions. Just look at the earlier CNN report and the Washington Post 2-year investigation. The bureaucracy is out of hand – interested in protecting their own jobs and retirement. Bureaucrats will say or publish just about anything to preserver their own well-being. Remember, these are most not elected and neither can they be held responsible outside the arcane civil service rules.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  142. chris, dayton OH

    That's all fine and good to point out right now, Jack. But if God forbid there is ever another terrorist attack on American soil, the media will be pointing out that it wasn't large enough to be comprehensive.

    So you can't win: Large is often unmanageable and small isn't acceptable. Welcome to the United States of America.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  143. Chris

    There is far too much Red tape in our Intelligence Agencys, but it would be hard to get rid of most of it. We are at a point that all this beuracracy is necessary in order for the job to get done. We have to have a check and balance for every job in the agencies, if we don't, then some higher-ups can possibly have the oppertunity of abusing their powers.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  144. Bob

    Almost 10 ten years since 911 and several caught for attempting terrorist act. Something must be working. However, to never stop improving on the system is a smart move.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  145. MIke in TX

    It will seem lame Jack to lay it off on the previous administration but reality is they ramped all this up, along with torture, spying on Americans without going to court and much more. It's the same old story of, regardless of what party is in power, everyone wants to know why one man can't gather all this in within a year or so along with the one or two other things a President has to do. It's taken that long to start to get real information sharing amongst the agencies. Do we need all these folks? Hard to tell Jack with the huge load of technical and other information flowing through the intelligence community every day just how many we need to flag that one piece of information, email, phone call, bank transaction or other item that will stop another 911 or lead us to the leaders of these groups.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  146. Spanish Inquisition

    This proves FEAR is profit based.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  147. Scott Stodden

    I Feel Our Intelligence Here In The United States Is Amazing But We Can Always Do Better! We're Doing Phenomenal At Stopping Attacks From Happening But How Are These People Getting Onto Planes And Into The Country With Bombs Strapped To Them, We Can Do Better Always!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    July 19, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  148. David A Whitaker

    Jack I worry about those that are the upper level jobs in intelligence, than those that are in lower level position. he intention of misinformation concern me more than a leak in the intelligence field.


    July 19, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  149. Alex Valiao (DMLK, NJ)

    It has always about quality over quantity when it comes to U.S. intelligence. No matter how many analysts you put on board, if the right hand and the left hand is not talking and the head is somewhere up there, nothing will get done. Redundancies and ineffectiveness only happens when everybody is not on board on what they are supposed to do. You can compare this to hiring a bunch of shooters hitting a flock of geese or "possible geese" that are flying in various directions. Numerous security clearances are being issued. I hope they are screening them effectively as this is another security loophole. Too many "plastic" snakes out there, if you know what I mean. My thoughts?? organize structure and improve communication.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  150. Brent

    It helps keeps us safe and creates jobs!

    July 19, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  151. Dave

    I'm looking for a better job, Jack. Are they hiring at the Department of Redundancy Department?

    July 19, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  152. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    Jack, you have got to be kidding, right? I seriously doubt that anything comes out of these organizations except employment. Well, employment and abuse of power. Maybe they're playng the odds here. Suspect everyone and a few may turn up dirty. McCarthyism seems to play in here. Collect so called "data" on someone accuse the person and then smear that's person reputation by someone who is above recourse because the person works for an "agency". Frankly if these agencies report to the congress then we are in trouble. Crooks in the capital overseeing the intelligence community. If the intelligence community would investige evryone that has been voted in and a report givien, then maybe... Here is a novel idea, let's revert back to the Constitution and give each individual his full rights. Let's take away all the silly act, law, committee's and go back to the basics. We have nothing to fear but "OURSELVES", to misquote FDR.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  153. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    After 9 years of an enemy hell bent on America's destruction by any means possible, you and I still take breath Jack. So it must have some degree of efficiency.

    Maybe your next question should outline how many attacks have been thwarted by these organizations instead of this leading question filled with assumptions.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  154. Bob

    We all have Secret Decoder Rings and Phones in our Shoes. We are prepared for anything, Osama who??

    July 19, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  155. Jerry

    2 people can't keep a secret unless one of them is dead. I doubt 800,000 people can keep one! No wonder our country is broke & has no direction. I'm very sad.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  156. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    I'd have to say that their effectiveness is at least that of what we had on 9/10.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  157. Jack McGann

    With almost a million people with top secrecy clearance our efforts to combat terrorism are bound to fail.

    Jack Michigan City, IN

    July 19, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  158. Greg Who? Mechanicsburg, PA

    U.S. intelligence is an oxymoron. Everybody seems to want to get into the act as though no one group or agency has faith in the capabilities of another, and I believe they are all correct in not having faith. We should save ourselves hundreds of millions of dollars and outsource our spying to the Israelis. They seem to know what they are doing and on an (explicative delete) smaller budget and I know that I can trust them. You know as close as our political and cultural ties are, if there was some way Israel could become part of the U.S., yet still maintain its autonomous sovereignty it would be like the birth of a new nation. It could set a trend. What we really need is a new, different United Nations with federal authority. The U.N. in its present state looks remarkably like our own nation did in its infancy. If we were all consensually governed by a single entity, we wouldn't need spies, or would we?

    July 19, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  159. Nancy in St. Louis

    Not effective at all. Communication would be the most critical issue and we can see how communication works in Washington, D.C. As the intelligence issues would be confidential – no one could tell anyone about anything anyway. Do you think those Senators could cut some of this wasted expense and save unemployment benefits?

    July 19, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  160. John from San Antonio

    this is a requirement to prevent anything from getting done while providing a reason for increased spending. Does anyone have any doubts now that the only way the United States can be destroyed is from within?

    July 19, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  161. lee tsuris

    Hey Jack – How about you and Wolf head-up ther Intelligence apparatus for the country? Then "The Situation Room " might make some sense. This is cheap-shot journalism ala 2010 – chartruese instead of yellow.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  162. Dave O

    Well, we had a saying when I was in the Army 20 years ago: "It doesn't matter how effective you are, if you send 100,000 troops in to flip a burger, that buger will get flipped." Sounds like a similar plan for intel! Just add enough people...and buildings...and hope SOMEONE out there can make a decent sandwich!

    July 19, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  163. Joseph Kraatz, Oceanside, CA

    I feel much less safe than I ever did in the past. What is sad is that we tax payers are footing the bill for these useless organizations. No way will we solve the budget deficit with this kind of stupidity. However, this is just a small part of the overall idiocy of our government. Glad I am 65 years old and not 21!!

    July 19, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  164. Paulino, CA

    It's just like the BP oil disaster. There are too many bosses and tousands of employees. There is back and forth with who has autority or jurisdiction over a certain matter or situation. If all of the head guys found something all at once and had to tell the president about it, how would the president hear anything when they are all talking at once.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  165. Allen, Texas

    Jack, this boondoggle of a bureaucracy was created by George W. Bush after 9 – 11. We were so scared of the terrorists that we have now essentially tied ourselves into knots with this massive bureaucracies. We don't want to die, so we look for terrorists at every nook and corner and each time we spook ourselves.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  166. Jerry in Marquette, MI

    But Jack, the one thing the intelligence community is doing is easing the national unemployment problem.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  167. FatDumbHappy

    We see now that the controlling political powers agendae to keep the citizenry fat, dumb, and happy – has come back to roost within yet another area of our largely ineffective Largely oversized govenrrment! Certainly this description befits the US Intelligence community as depicted above.
    And we the citizenry are undeniably Fat, largely ignorant of the countless bureaucracies (i.e.Dumb) operating (or pretrending to) within our Federal And State governments, – and Sadly (it seems only the Rich are increasingly happy) unhappy with the destroyed: economy, employment / career opportunities, home and investment values, etc.; with the – Cost And Innefectiveness of our Governements, HeaalthCare and other essential services, and Doubt the American Dream!
    Possibly it would be helpful to Identify and List the: Mission, Budget, Headcount, success metrics, and origin of these 1,300 plus 2,000 organizations!
    By the way – where is Waldon's Pond anyway?

    July 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  168. Granny, Lafayette, LA

    Well, the government and the military are two institutions that provide decent salaries and benefits for the working man. Let's look on the intelligence service as a part of the stimulus program. Manufacturing has gone overseas, the unions have been destroyed, and we've opened a hole to hell in the Gulf of Mexico.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  169. Lisa in CA

    Wasn't the Department of Homeland Security created to manage and be the central agency overseeing our intel? So IOW, any governmental department that is wasting taxpayer dollars?

    July 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  170. Tony

    If you don't what they are doing, (how much money and resources are needed) how can you determine how effective they can be ??????????????????????

    July 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  171. vince cami

    Talk about a cluster? What this bloated govenment needs is a real private sector house cleaning. A private corportation will never survive with such a mess.
    What is needed in govenrment is executives who have run somthing not the lawyers, and academics who are in charge now
    Vince Cami
    Johns Creek, Ga

    July 19, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  172. Kyle


    This makes absolute sense if you recall what the Bush administration declared war on after 9/11: Terror. With such a nebulous, unwieldy "enemy", a system that is just as cumbersome was bound to built to fight it.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  173. Greg Who? Mechanicsburg, PA

    Men In Black is real!?

    July 19, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  174. John from Lubbock, Texas

    Jack, this is the US Government, I am shocked to read the stats you mention. IF those are close to accurate 1/2 should be stopped immediately because they cannot be effective or efficient and this will become a major black hole of our tax dollars down the road as they each use their sugar daddies in Congress to justify their reason for existing.

    Problem is none of them will work together, none of them will share intel and we will have more tragedies around the corner and how many secret spy cells will exist now?

    But here is the lithmus test... have Congress and the heads of these organizations stand in line with their backs to you. Then give them the following instruction; "Using both hands, please locate your Butt". Those that fail to accomplish this task are eliminated.

    Well, I just saved the country BILLIONS..... no need to thank me.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  175. Edinorlando

    One thing for sure, if the media keeps on insisting that everyone has a right to know everything, top secret won't mean much any more. Still steamed at the fact that some wet behind the ears wanabee from an entertainment rag brought down a great four star general because he felt that everyone had a right to know everything he heard or at least his interpretation of what he heard. The Taliban and Al Queda must love this guy.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  176. Lucas

    The effectiveness of the intelligence community of over a 1000 gov't agencies is like a gas guzzling SUV, all it's doing is just sucking us dry of our tax payers money.

    Lucas (Herndon VA)

    July 19, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  177. Dave

    'm looking for a better job, Jack. Are they hiring at the Department of Redundancy Department?


    Altoona, PA

    July 19, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  178. Jon


    Effective and government shouldn't be put in the same sentence. Remember, this is the government that blew up the housing bubble, can't seem to do anything right in Iraq or Afghanistan, and let's not forget they can't even efficiently deliver the mail. Of course this bureaucratic mess won't be efficient

    July 19, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  179. Brandon

    One would think with the republicans in charge after 9/11, that they would have reduced the size of government in this case.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  180. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Jack, I'll allow every one of your statements and conjectures, if you'll allow me a statement.
    Where were you and all the experts when the Bush administration was building this empire? This did not happen in 18 months. Back then everyone who supported Bush was saying that nothing was sacred when it came to keeping us safe from another attack from the boogieman.
    Well we have the monster that was created by all those willing to give up freedoms and privacy. If you want the Obama administration to fix it, show up with your hat in you hand.
    Hartwell GA

    July 19, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  181. sheila

    these agencys must be falling all over each other.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  182. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    While I was waiting for this page to load so I could make my comment, I heard Wolf announce that we had to cut $33 billion in government expenses. Hey, what about cutting it from the intelligence community? I was always told that to do something right you had to follow the K.I.S.S principle. That means Keep It Simple, Stupid. If only the Government could do that we would be in a much better shape, financially and otherwise and maybe under all those files, they would find Osama bin Ladin.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  183. Gary Las Vegas

    We have 854,000 people with top secret security clearance !! Why does this sound like a problem, when it's hard for two people to keep a small secret. This is the same government who has been unable to catch one man for ten years. Why do i not feel secure?

    July 19, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  184. Ralph Spyer

    U.S. intelligence is a oxymoron;it is pretty ugly.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  185. Melissa Sweet

    Jack, great topic but you neglected to mention that this outrageous growth in the intelligence industry happened almost entirely under the Bush administration and Republican leadership. Don't go trying to peg this on this administration and this Congress - Anything approved in the last two years is still on the drawing board. Report the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, please.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  186. Michael Sullivan

    Jack - It's called the proverbial shotgun approach - shoot and hope you hit something other than your hunting buddy!
    by the way, I live in Lafayette, California

    July 19, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  187. Ronda (from Canastota, NY)

    It means the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing because government intelligence (the age-old oxymoron) community is too big. I believe the intel community was a lot more effective 50 years ago when it was a lot smaller. We need to return to that level of efficiency, especially since our technology is so much better. How much of that intelligence is outsourced to agencies and individuals who don't or can't coordinate their findings on what's really important? Those 850,000 people in the intel community can probably dip into a little old lady's bank account information, yet they can't secure our borders or find Osama bin Laden. Do we need all those people? Something's wrong here.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  188. George

    About as efective as the previous administration and it;s policies who in all there wisdom created most of what is covered by the washington post piece. The irony of it all,the party in charge at the time always bellowing about less gov and when the time is just rite creating a bureacratic cash sucking nightmare out of the ashes of misery.... that being 9/11. Talk about a convoluted slap to the tax paying face of America.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  189. Robbert Spads

    GOOD GRIEF! That many spies ain't looking form Bin Ladden inside America, they are spying on US! Scary! They must have a dossier on my lawn mower a MILE LONG!

    July 19, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  190. Jack Ohio

    Dear Jack,
    Are you kidding? Phooey! Efficiency? This is just another example of Washington knee-jerk reactionism. I would love to follow the flow of money, from interest groups to K Street to the coffers, war chests,and secret bank accounts, of our elected officials. Predictably Unbelievable

    July 19, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  191. phayemuss

    I was blown away by the WaPost article on the Secret America.

    Two towers, 3,000 killed. Two wars, one approaching a decade. What price redemption? What price security? It's never about how much you spend but rather how effectively you spend it. We have an intel gathering monstrosity clearly out of control because no one IS controlling it.

    The World Wide Web transformed forever the way people purchase and communicate let alone the way governments gather intel data. Volummous reports going unread, uncoordinated, redundant – is not a way to effectively achieve missions or spend effectively.

    Clearly a no-brainer: NOT EFFECTIVE!!

    July 19, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  192. John, Hurricane, West Virginia


    I am a retired federal agent and I'd have to say I really don't think the traveling public is one bit safer today than they were before 9/11. It is a good example of throwing money and manpower at a problem no one seems to understand is "perception of threat" more than the threat itself. The terrorists have already accomplished one of their major goals to cause the United States to spend billions of dollars to protect itself against the perception of a threat. Add to that the inconvenience of millions of the traveling public, for no good reason, and you have a miserable failure on the part of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  193. Miguel from Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

    Jack, I think a renaming for the agency is required! I mean seriously, you have Illegals coming into the country freely on a daily basis, borders from my country to yours manned by a video camera and a hope that the person(s) crossing stands in front of it to check in.
    Not only that, wage a war to find one man, 3300 agencies, thousands of people looking and nine years later you still can only dream of finding him? Well that looks pathetic, and that's being nice.
    But hey I bet we can have a woman in New York file a claim that Osama owes child support and the appropriate family agencies will locate and serve him papers for his court appearance in a jiff!
    Intelligence Agency, now there's a new age oxymoron!
    Take care Jack.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  194. Eric Wright

    As a 20 year Air Force verteran and a user of the "intellegence" product prior to 9-11, I can tell you the system was not very effective then. And its not vert effevtive now.
    San Antonio, Texas

    July 19, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  195. steve- virginia beach

    Here's a clue Jack- the CIA used to do a fine job until Clinton decimated our intelligence machine and outsourced 75% of their work to other agencies and private companies. And thanks to the progressive huge government mindset, no President could possibly name all 3,300 organizations the CIA spawned, let alone manage them. And we're supposd to believe that they're all communicating with each other?

    July 19, 2010 at 5:29 pm |

    The military teaches its senior officers at Ft, Leavenworth and the War college that the EFFECTIVE span of control is five (5) subordinates or subordinate agencies. Does this give you a clue about how effective this intelligence boondoggle is?

    But it does help with the unemploment numbers, doesn't it?

    July 19, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  197. Ray in Nashville

    Well, so much for the GOP's belief in "small government!" Of course, fly the flag of "Patriotism" and you can get away with anything, including spending the country into oblivion and enriching thousands of your closest friends. This report means that the conservative ideal of privatisation has added layers of fat and endagered our security. But the good news is that thousands of Republicans have gotten rich.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  198. Jeff In Minnesota

    Can you say "circle jerk?" 3,300+ government and private organizations all chasing the same brass ring. Sounds to me like a tremendous waste of time and a BIG waste of our money. The only positive light would be that these are high paying jobs for US citizens.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  199. Patrick Jean Baptiste

    There is an old adage that applies precisely to this revealing peace of news: less is more. Which such a plethora of organizations, communication between them would seem clogged. Further, don't we have a Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Administration? Why do we need so many more government organizations and private companies to begin with? The issue is clear. The government is ineffective in how it is handling intelligence and should consolidate its efforts to protect the American people. Enough of this pop up of organizations and companies.

    -Patrick from Miami, FL

    July 19, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  200. Loren, Chicago

    Not at all, Jack, but that begs the question, when has American intelligence services ever been effective? Perhaps it's a good thing that they aren't, because that requires a government different from what we have have and 'm not sure I would like to go the route (and the damage to our Constitutional righs) that would be neessary to have an effective intelligence service. In the meantime, let's stop spending money willy-nilly.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  201. Anonymous

    If you think that is bad, you don't want to know the information that has been leaked to the Chinese and N. Korean governments from DoD, FBI, DHS, etc. contractors after they've been hacked.

    That is all that can be said...

    July 19, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  202. Scott

    The lack of successful attacks on the US since 9-11 is testament to the fact that it is working. Whatever that cost and however big the organization is irrevelant.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  203. Raj

    II have two observations:

    1.Bin Laden has succeeded far beyond that the atrocities of 9/11 – he has created an economic burden that we will be paying for years to come.
    2.On the efficiency of the intelligence agencies – a recent air trip confirmed that the policy of throwing large number of people at a problem seems to be a common solution – seeing so many TSA agents at the security gates and the long lines can only ask the question – are we being effective?

    July 19, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  204. Jay in Anaheim California

    Not very effective at all. I once worked for a company that employed over 20,000 at it's home base,including at least a million or so employees world wide including its entertainment division. Whenever something happened within the company, all divisions and each and every employee did their absolute best to prevent such things from happening. In other words, they have emails,cell phones and pda's to transfer information company wide. It astounds me that our natl intel can't do the same, shame

    July 19, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  205. emma texas

    just think how much money and lives could have been saved if bush and administration has gotten bin laden when they had him. ummmmmm

    July 19, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  206. phayemuss

    It was a lack of coordination in intel gathering and sharing that let 9-11 be a surprise attack. Homeland Security was supposed to rectify that.

    Seems to me we've only made it worse – and so costly. Talk about overkill. Talk about government run amok.

    The cost for construction and operation of a few of those 33 buildings could have solved our border problems.

    Faye Musselman
    Payson, Arizona

    July 19, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  207. Harold in Anchorage

    I thought the rational for the formation of a Homeland Security Dept was to cooridinate and consolidate intelligence wfforts, perhaps it ispast time for it to go away

    July 19, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  208. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    That's quite a lot!

    July 19, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  209. David Frey

    There doesn't seem to be a lot of intelligence in the growth of our intelligence community, and a clear lack of understanding that there is a difference between quality and quantity. Every time I hear the word "contractor" related to government work, I equate that to "profiteering" – someone is making a fortune off the backs of the American people, all in the name of national security. And with all that out-of-control growth and spending, they still haven't found Osama bin Ladin...

    July 19, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  210. Sam Halpert

    If there are 1300 government agencies,and 2000 private companies working in 10000 locations in the U.S., then it is more likely that any one of these organizations may happen to "bump into" any possible terrorist activity and act as a preventive. It may not be the most efficient way to deal with the problem, but such coverage isn't such a bad thing

    July 19, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  211. Overby from Melbourne

    Since 9/11 we haven't been nuked, annihilated, had any more planes flying into our buildings, I'd feel safe visiting New York, and I don't really worry that some crazed jihadist suicide bomber is going to do their thing in the restaurants I go to...........I'd say the intelligence community is doing great.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  212. Michael, Boston, MA

    Not effective at all. All this is doing taking desperately needed resources from other more important issues, like health care, job creation, our crumbling infrastructure. Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex. We're, apparently, now stuck with a secret, self-perpetuating, intelligence/security apparatus that keeps on growing. Are we truly living in a democracy?

    July 19, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  213. Jon Bauduin

    The republicans always harp on big government, big spending,big deficit, and bla bla bla. Where have they been living during the Bush and Oil can Chaney years. Are Americans so dumb as to think these people are for real. Bush dug us a hole so big, we won't be out of it for decades, and the republicans with their selective memories, somehow think all this just happened. You know Jack, I have been a lifelong republican, but now it's time to purge myself of all their bullshit. Yes, Martians have always been here. Their called republicans.I'm voting straight democrat!!!

    July 19, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  214. Petey

    There's very little in the US government that isn't inflated. It's unsustainable. I give this country another 15 years, tops.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  215. Ram


    Just having large organizations don't necessarily mean they are not manageable. It only takes the right leader manage and run it effectively

    July 19, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  216. gary saari

    Jack, whether you believe it or not US intelligence has been paying journalists in our country and others to mislead the American people since World War II. They also have been assassinating democratically elected people of third world countries to promote Capitalism or I should say, multinational corporations who hail from our country. Everybody has to read "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" and see the documentary "Apology of an Economic Hitman" to understand the relevance of your question. You won't find any mention of them on any corporate sponsored media. Please spread the word. LINK TV is great, and so is CNN. Tell our government to account for the money that they are spending for intelligence because that would be the intelligent thing to do.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  217. CATom

    Well they may not be able to do much intelligence work but that is a lot of people getting a govt paycheck so that is a good thing right? We wouldn't want to put all those workers out on the street when they are used to getting a taxpayer funded paycheck. God bless our govt!

    July 19, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  218. Robert W. North Carolina

    It seems to me that all it needs to do is seem effective. The people feel safe and the bad guys feel intimidated, hopefully not so intimidated that they don't get careless and get caught. I think in time it will become more effective.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  219. highlyintelligent

    Who is getting the billions of dollars. Oh yeah it is a secret.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  220. john mcniff

    Gop believe in small government.
    What is Small?

    July 19, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  221. Ken in Maryland

    Care to venture a guess at how many plots are stopped before they actually occur? And because they are classified as Top Secret the world never knows about them? You'd be amazed...

    July 19, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  222. Fred, Montello, Nevada

    Sorta makes you wonder what the health care bureacracy will look like, doesn't it?

    July 19, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  223. George

    Jack, I see a couple of problems. First, I wonder who is classifying government documents. As a former government employee, I was often amassed at documents stamped TOP SECRET. Too many people had this stamp on their desk. Second, I think many Americans would be interested to know that TOP SECRET clearance is only the third from the bottom, after CLASSIFIED and SECRET. Since someone is stamping everything document TOP SECRET, it becomes only logical that so many have to then be cleared to carry/read these documents.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  224. jason

    Whatever their doing, its not very effective. Why are we trying so hard to fix other countrys and trying to make THEIR people feel safe at night, when OUR people are worried about losing their job to some foreign person who has sneeked into our country? You have factory workers who have to worry about their company out sourcing to other countrys... that OUR goverment is helping! its time for a new plan, before its too late.

    Utica, MI

    July 19, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  225. AndyZ

    Jack, if intel is consolidated and we have a failure in obtaining critical intel then the media will crucify the administration for cutting intel assets. If the size of intel remains the same and there is a failure in intel then the media will claim that our intel organization is to large and not "agile." Can't win either way.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  226. Truth in Texas

    I just want to say THANKS to the moderators for not including my comment regarding the hiring of 1600 workers by the NSA for the purpose of debunking and discrediting anyone that may have information that does not follow the "official" story about what happened on 9/11. My source for the information is a published, reputable source and it only goes to show that the mainstream media is BOUGHT and PAID FOR by the same people that brought fear to this country on 9/11. And, NO, I'm not talking about terrorists at all. Most Americans don't even know that Tim Osman, aka Osama Bin Laden made the rounds on our military bases back in the 1990's. I have copies of the documents to prove it.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  227. reddy33

    Hang on to your hats, everyone. With this kind of intelligence that has so many bureaucrats running things, plus private enterprise. What in the world can we believe in, when it comes to keeping us safe?
    We have a bunch of idiots in charge of hiring these people apparently.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  228. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    From the Washington Post's own site:
    "The Post's investigation is based on government documents and contracts, job descriptions, property records, corporate and social networking Web sites, additional records, and hundreds of interviews with intelligence, military and corporate officials and former officials.
    "The Washington Post identified 45 government organizations (for example, the FBI) engaged in top-secret work and determined that those 45 organizations could be broken down into 1,271 sub-units (for example, the Terrorist Screening Center of the FBI)."

    Based on social networking web sites? Counting 45 organizations as 1271 "sub-units"? Sounds like slip-shod journalism to me.

    July 19, 2010 at 5:58 pm |