'Top Secret America' - Director of NI Reacts to Washington Post
Acting Director of National Intelligence, David C. Gompert, has issued a statement reacting to The Washington Post’s ‘Top Secret America’ – a two-year investigative series detailing the government’s “fourth branch”, allegedly created in response to the 2001, 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York. David C. Gompert denies The Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and William M. Arkin’s statement that the top-secret world of America’s defence and intelligence has grown completely out of control.
‘Top Secret America’ is a vast interactive website detailing what The Washington Post says is the private, billion-dollar, profit-making intelligence operations of America. The Washington Post says this secret branch employs more than 854,000, with such people currently holding a top secret clearance. ‘Top Secret America’ cites numerous interviews with ‘super users’ and touches on everything from counter-IED operations to human intelligence. With knowledge from extensive analysis of public records compiled into articles, videos, interactive features, and maps, the website allows users an insight into the highly shielded world of the U.S. secret intelligence service.
Monday morning – around the same time as the website’s opening - David C. Gompert issued a statement reacting to The Washington Post’s ‘Top Secret America’.
“The reporting does not reflect the Intelligence Community we know”, Mr Gompert says.
“We accept that we operate in an environment that limits the amount of information we can share. However, the fact is, the men and women of the Intelligence Community have improved our operations, thwarted attacks, and are achieving untold successes every day.”
David C. Gompert continues to ensure that the quality of work achieved by the Intelligence Community is constantly improving, with regular and consistent reforms and expansions in their ways of thinking and methods in tackling issues.
"The challenges that lie ahead are difficult and complex. We will continue to scrutinize our own operations, seek ways to improve and adapt, and work with Congress on its crucial oversight and reform efforts. We can always do better, and we will. And the importance of our mission and our commitment to keeping America safe will remain steadfast, whether they are reflected in the day's news or not", Mr Gompert says.
But ‘Top Secret America’s introductory video states, "In response to 9/11, a fourth branch has emerged. It is protected from public scrutiny by overwhelming secrecy. ... It has become so big, and the lines of responsibility so blurred, that even our nation's leaders don't have a handle on it. Where is it? It's being built from coast to coast, hidden within some of America's most familiar cities and neighborhoods."
Washington Post reporters, Dana Priest and William M. Arkin, write in their website introduction that, on matters of national security and especially with an enterprise so massive, often no expense is spared and few questions are asked. Being largely invisible to the public - who it aims to protect, and who it is funded by - how can people judge the success of the enterprise? Priest and Arkin say they are trying to provide responsible information, “so readers gain a real, granular understanding of the scale and breadth of the top-secret world we are describing."