Monday, July 19, 2010

When Should I be Paranoid? and My SCIF is Bigger than Yours.


The Washington Post front lined their 2 year investigation into Secret America today; a look into the over 1,200 US government and 1,900 contractor counter-intelligence organizations that have grown virally since 9-11.  This video clip is an intro to the Frontline production that will come out of the investigation in October.  It presents the lead investigative reporter and a data guy from Vermont (are we all from there?). 

I’m not one to become easily spooked or impressed with random numbers, but some of the findings definitely make me want to know more.

854,000 people hold top-secret security clearance.

33 building complexes have been build or are under construction near Washington DC for secret work.  The WaPo says it’s the equivalent real estate-wise of three Pentagons. 

51 federal organizations and military commands track the money to and from terrorist networks

The US intelligence budget is $75 billion, 2 1/2 times the size prior to 9-11

The NGA will soon have the fourth largest federal building in the DC area; a $1.8 billion expansion of the CIA.

The quote of the article is this though:

Every one of these buildings has at least one of these rooms, known as a SCIF, for sensitive compartmented information facility. Some are as small as a closet; others are four times the size of a football field.

SCIF size has become a measure of status in Top Secret America, or at least in the Washington region of it. "In D.C., everyone talks SCIF, SCIF, SCIF," said Bruce Paquin, who moved to Florida from the Washington region several years ago to start a SCIF construction business. "They've got the penis envy thing going. You can't be a big boy unless you're a three-letter agency and you have a big SCIF."

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