Top Secret America is a really excellent project from The Washington Post with some excellent articles and classy and educative graphics. It traces the huge current US security-intelligence complex, and is partituclarly interesting for noting the massive private sector involvement. This isn’t actually entirely new – private technology companies have been intimately involved in both the manufacture and the servicing and operation of intelligence for a long time – look at the example of RCA and the early history of the National Security Association, for example. However, this blurring of the boundary between state and private sector now goes much further into the operations of intelligence. The Post alleges that “out of 854,000 people with top-secret clearances, 265,000 are contractors.” That’s almost a third. And the database of companies involved is enormous – nearly 2000. The searchable database is also going to be very helpful in our current work at the Surveillance Studies Centre on the involvment of private companies in Canadian border control!
PS: I should be back up and posting regularly now. I’ve had one of my occasional anti-blogging periods!