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Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State Hardcover – September 6, 2011
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"One of the many strengths of Top Secret America is that Priest and Arkin take nothing for granted. They ask basic, even faux- naïve questions about the purpose, accountability, and effectiveness of the acronym soup of covert programs, companies, and Pentagon commands created or expanded after September 11. Their analysis is neither naïve about the threat posed by al-Qaeda and similar groups, nor credulous about the generals, spies, and bureaucrats who have so dramatically expanded the country's defenses in response to September 11."―Steve Coll, New York Review of Books
"This is an invaluable book, a breathtaking investigative account of America's vast new secret world...it offers an indispensable guide to anyone who worries about the explosive growth of what the authors call America's terrorism-industrial complex since September 11th....Priest and Arkin explain better than Congress ever has the staggering waste and ineptitude that inevitably has followed."―Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times
"Priest and Arkin fully flesh out how the Byzantine security maze actually works, breaking down its components....The authors' arguments are compelling."―Lydia DePillis, Washington City Paper
"The book is far more ambitious than was the [Washington Post] series...and makes the team's investigation available in detail to those of us who live beyond the Beltway....Since Priest and Arkin themselves lack security clearances, part of the interest of their book is how they acquired so much secret information."―Richard Rhodes, The Washington Post
"Priest and Arkin blow the whistle on how, since 9/11 and the adoption of the Patriot Act, the government and its contractors use classification and security screens to conceal expenditures that have failed to enhance national security...This is an important book."―Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Dana Priest is an investigative reporter for The Washington Post. She has won numerous awards, including the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for public service for "The Other Walter Reed" and the 2006 Pulitzer for beat reporting for her work on CIA secret prisons and counterterrorism operations overseas. She is the author of The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America's Military.
William M. Arkin has been a columnist and reporter with The Washington Post since 1998. He has worked on the subject of government secrecy and national security affairs for more than 30 years. He has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books about the U.S. military and national security.
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What are the consequences of privatizing National Security?
If National Security was grounds for abuse ever since the National Security Act of 1947, as we approached Y2K the rate of abuse simply became uncontrollable. We still don't know the consequences of this; we might not know for decades.
We do know, however, that the bulk of our personal information - including our most personal correspondence - is firmly in the hands of corporations which are working side-by-side with the National Security State. Some people don't care, but I suspect this is only so because most don't understand the implications of feeding a "big data" computer with every personal information possible.
850,000 people hold Top Secret clearances. That is partly what is moving the US economy forward, but the people must be very careful in case they want to survive beyond 2020. This book gives you some weapons for this survival.
Dana Priest has the skill to make even complex government rules and contracts easily understood and knows when to break up what could be dry explanations with quotes and compelling anecdotes. (Wonder what the hold up was with White House approval in Zero Dark Thirty? The other side of the scenario is laid out in this book.)
Compellingly written with an abundance of detailed footnotes, Priest has done a masterful job with this book. Unreservedly recommended.
The Iraq war based on a defectors lie so we got to spend trillions of dollars on a war we thought was fighting evil.
I thought the book was interesting and it just showed you how our government waste money on programs that duplicate themselves, it's incredible.
I thought this comment on page 136 was interesting they said that "Napolitano and many in the Obama administration believe that the next iteration of terrorism to hit the United States would be attacked by disinfected immigrants" hmmmmmmmm
Lots more of interesting things in the book, I highlight when I read a book, and it's just too many highlights to talk about.
6 Stars for Dana Priest but 4 for the book