When it was leaked last week the the Washington Post was planning a big expose on intelligence contractors, many people feared it might be another example of a newspaper undercutting our national security interests. But now that the series is out, it looks a lot more like quality journalism than politicized Pulitzer bait. The Post is bringing some much needed sunlight to an area of government that’s rapidly growing without much oversight. Some key findings:
* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.
* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space.