Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to North America. For those looking to relocate within the US or Canada, discuss your experiences and pros/cons of each domestic region.
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Cloak and Dagger British style: Send James Bond, who will seduce the enemy mistress and walk away with all your bases.
Cloak and Dagger American style: l33t zerg rush 4tw!
Washington Post exposes US 'intelligence flaws'
The CIA is just one of more than a dozen US intelligence gathering agencies Secret US intelligence gathering has grown so much since 9/11 no-one knows its exact cost, nor how many people are involved, the Washington Post reports.
It says nearly 2,000 private companies and 1,270 government agencies are involved in counter-terror work at 10,000 locations across the country.The report, Top Secret America, follows a two-year investigation by the paper.
Can one person oversee every spy?
Officials quoted acknowledge the system has shortcomings, but question some of the newspaper's conclusions.
Before the report was published, the White House told the Washington Post it knew about the problems within US intelligence gathering and was trying to fix them.
The report says the growth of the security industry - with billions of dollars of contracts farmed out to various government agencies and private contractors - has resulted in an unwieldy system lacking in oversight and with high levels of redundancy and waste.
According to the Washington Post:
Some 854,000 US citizens have the highest level of security clearance
A fifth of the US government's anti-terror organisations have been created since the September 2001 attacks
More than 250 security bodies have been created or restructured since 9/11
More than 30 complexes with 17m sq ft of space (1.6 sq m) have been built for top-secret intelligence work in the Washington area since the attacks
Various agencies publish so many reports these are often ignored by officials
Intelligence failures that allowed the September 2001 attacks to happen have produced the regular refrain that the American intelligence community had "failed to join up the dots", says the BBC's defence and security correspondent, Nick Childs.
US intelligence and surveillance systems have changed dramatically since those attacks, with reforms - such as the creation a Directorate of National Intelligence to oversee some 16 agencies in the intelligence community - and a massive injections of resources.
US officials insist these reforms have led to significant improvements.
But recent incidents - such as the failed Detroit airliner bombing in December and the failed Times Square attack on New York in May - have exposed continuing weaknesses, and failures still to "join up the dots", our correspondent adds.
Defence Secretary Robert Gates said the bureaucracy of US intelligence gathering had not become unmanageable, but that it was sometimes hard to get precise information.
"There has been so much growth since 9/11 that getting your arms around that - not just for the DNI [Director of National Intelligence], but for any individual, for the director of the CIA, for the secretary of defence - is a challenge," Mr Gates told the newspaper.
Last month, President Barack Obama nominated retired Gen James Clapper, a top Pentagon official, to replace Adm Dennis Blair as his next intelligence chief.
The DNI was heavily criticised in a report by the president's Intelligence Advisory Board which said it was overstaffed and dysfunctional.
Gen Clapper faces a Senate confirmation hearing this week at which some of the issues raised in the Washington Post are bound to be aired, says our correspondent.
Top Secret America was compiled by Pulitzer Prize-winner Dana Priest and some two dozen reporters, and is being published in three instalments this week.
The Washington Post said its investigation was based on government documents, public records and hundreds of interviews with intelligence, military and business officials and former officials.
Most of those interviewed requested anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly, or because they feared retaliation at work, the newspaper said.
I'm originally from DC and I can attest to the fact that the government is full of waste, fraud, and abuse of power. There exists a whole separate mentality there, that I call the "Beltway Mentality", which the rest of my family (still there) buys hook, line, and sinker. One of the major talk radio stations there advertises itself as being in the "most powerful city in the world". My mother just the other day stated that DC has the "most intelligent population in the world". The DC Beltway and all the sycophant contractors and lawyers who suck off the government teat for survival make me just puke. They all believe that the whole world revolves around the Beltway, and that if you don't live and work there, you must be some sort of loser. I recognized early in my life how perverted the mentality there is, and did everything I could to get the hell out of there and stay away. Even now, after a year of unemployment, my family is begging me to go back there to "find a good job", I still refuse. I'm heading overseas, which they think is pure insanity. The place just royally sucks, and the horrible weather and 4 hours of sitting in traffic every day makes it even worse. Who cares about all the "intelligence" community there. It's a whole lot of hot air, poseurs, and fake/invented "enemies", paranoia, and contracting firms who have to make up scary stories in order to sell their services to the government.
Kindly remind them that the District of Columbia was a piece of unwanted swampland on the Potomac River that Virginia and Maryland unloaded.
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