by Sheldon Richman,
Posted February 9, 2011
The Future of Freedom Foundation

Militarism is the one great glamorous public-works project upon which a variety of elements in the community can be brought into agreement.

— John T. Flynn, As We Go Marching (1944)

Those who understand the exploitative nature of big government realized that the U.S. response to the 9/11 attacks had little to do with the security of the American people and much to do with power and money. Still, the magnitude of the scam, as revealed in July by the Washington Post series “Top Secret America,” is truly astonishing.

Naturally, the politicians justify the massive growth in intelligence operations — that is, spying — on national-security grounds. To make sure such attacks never happen again, they said, new powers, agencies, personnel, and facilities are imperative. But now the truth is known: the post–9/11 activity has been an obscene feeding frenzy at the public trough. Any resemblance to efforts at keeping Americans safe is strictly coincidental. Any lingering doubts that America has a productive class and a parasitic class are now dispelled.

“The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work,” the Post’s Dana Priest and William Arkin wrote after a two-year investigation. “After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.”

It would be a mistake to chalk that up to bureaucratic bumbling. It is not bumbling (though of course there is some of that). It is highway robbery. Everyone who was well connected, either in government or the “private” sector, wanted a piece of the action, and the chances are he — and many others — got it.

It doesn’t matter that multiple agencies do the same work and keep their findings secret from one another. It doesn’t matter that the volume of paperwork is beyond anyone’s capacity to absorb it. It doesn’t matter that nothing of value is produced even by the reckoning of insiders. What matters is money, power, and prestige. That is the mother of all boondoggles.

Chew on some of the numbers from the Post investigation and see whether it sounds as though protection of our society was a national-intelligence priority:

“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.”

Click on link for the rest of the article The Post–9/11 Feeding Frenzy