Dana Priest

With Others

A - E


Priest, Dana, and Mike Allen. "Bush Nominates Rep. Goss to Run CIA; Democrats Question Independence of Republican Veteran of Agency." Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2004, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 10 August 2004, President George W. Bush nominated Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-FL.) to be DCI. Goss announced that he would step down as HPSCI chairman immediately. Goss "served as a CIA case officer for nine years." He retired when it appeared his traveling days were over; started a newspaper on Sanibel Island...; became mayor of Sanibel and then county commissioner; and was elected to the House in 1988. He took over the chairmanship of the intelligence panel eight years ago." See also, David E. Sanger, "Bush Picks House Intelligence Chief to Lead C.I.A.," New York Times, 11 Aug. 2004.


Priest, Dana, and Mike Allen. "Preserving CIA Status Will Test New Chief ." Washington Post, 7 Jun. 2004, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"Of all the challenges that face Tenet's successor, John E. McLaughlin, when he steps into the job July 11, preserving the CIA's status at the White House and among world leaders will be among the toughest."


Priest, Dana, and William M. Arkin. "A Hidden World, Growing Beyond Control." Washington Post, 19 Jul. 2010. [http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/a-hidden-world-growing-beyond-control/] "National Security, Inc." Washington Post, 20 Jul. 2010. [http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/national-security-inc/] "The Secrets Next Door." Washington Post, 20 Jul. 2010. [http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/secrets-next-door/]

These articles are the journalistic equivalent of a nuclear weapon directed against U.S. intelligence writ large. A two-year investigation by the newspaper produces the following summation: "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." Like all generalizations driven by hyperbole, this one -- and the evidence on which it is based -- can be picked apart (data standing alone does not necessarily speak for itself). However, there are a lot of interesting facts included here -- and some (stress the "some") not totally off the mark conclusions.

The article for 19 July 2010 "describes the government's role in th[e] expanding [intelligence] enterprise." The article for 20 July 2010 "describes the government's dependence on private contractors." The article for 21 July 2010 "is a portrait of one Top Secret America community." The Post's "extensive, searchable database ... about Top Secret America is available at washingtonpost.com/topsecretamerica."

The ODNI promptly responded to the Post's initial article. Acting DNI David C. Gompert put out a letter on 19 July 2010 arguing that "[t]he reporting [in this article] does not reflect the Intelligence Community we know." [http://www.dni.gov/content/20100719_release.pdf] The ODNI also issued press releases entitled, "Questions and Answers on the Intelligence Community Post 9/11" [http://www.dni.gov/content/Question_and_Answer_IC.pdf]; and "Key Facts About Contractors" [http://www.dni.gov/content/Truth_About_Contractors.pdf].


Priest, Dana, and William M. Arkin. "Monitoring America." Washington Post, 20 Dec. 2010. [http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/monitoring-america]

"[T]he United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators. The system ... collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing. The government's goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI."

This story focuses on "the local level. It describes a web of 4,058 federal, state and local organizations, each with its own counterterrorism responsibilities and jurisdictions. At least 935 of these organizations have been created since the 2001 attacks or became involved in counterterrorism for the first time after 9/11."

[FBI/DomSec/10s; Terrorism/10s]

Priest, Dana, and William M. Arkin. "'Top Secret America': A Look at the Military's Joint Special Operations Command." Washington Post, 2 Sep. 2011. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

JSOC "has grown ... into America's secret army.... This article, adapted from a chapter of the newly released 'Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State,' ... chronicles JSOC's spectacular rise... Two presidents and three secretaries of defense routinely have asked JSOC to mount intelligence-gathering missions and lethal raids, mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in countries with which the United States was not at war, including Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, the Philippines, Nigeria and Syria.... The president has also given JSOC the rare authority to select individuals for its kill list -- and then to kill, rather than capture, them."


Priest, Dana, and William M. Arkin. Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State. New York: Little, Brown, 2011.

Aftergood, Secrecy News, 1 Sep. 2011, says that this work "illuminates various facets of our secret government.... Despite the sobering subject matter, Top Secret America actually makes for lively reading.  It is full of the authors' remarkable insights, anecdotes and encounters." Chapman, IJI&C 25.4 (Winter 2012-2013), finds that the authors "did an excellent job of investigation."

For Peake, Studies 56.1 (Mar. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.2 (Summer-Fall 2012), the argument that "the intelligence establishment is too big ... was part of the public discussion long before Priest and Arkin wrote this book. The numbers they present may be new to some, but the for those familiar with government," they are simply raising "perennial and unanswered questions. Solutions in specific cases where downsizing is shown to be necessary would [be] helpful. But examples have eluded the authors, and readers are left with a colorful conception of an oft-mentioned problem without any way of judging how serious it is. Not very helpful."


Priest, Dana, and Dan Eggen. "Bush Aides Consider Domestic Spy Agency." Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2002, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to government officials and intelligence experts, "President Bush's top national security advisers have begun discussing the creation of a new, domestic intelligence agency that would take over responsibility for counterterrorism spying and analysis from the FBI."

[FBI/02; Terrorism/02]

Priest, Dana, and Dan Eggen. "FBI Faulted on al Qaeda Assessment: Domestic Threat Was Underestimated, Panel Told." Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2002, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost. com]

According to testimony on 19 September 2002 from Clinton and Bush administration officials, "[t]he FBI was confident that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network had a limited presence in the United States before last year's terror attacks." Thus, "the U.S. government focused on threats posed by al Qaeda overseas and lacked specific tactical information that would have been necessary to thwart the Sept. 11 attacks."


Priest, Dana, and Dan Eggen. "9/11 Probers Say Agencies Failed to Heed Attack Signs." Washington Post, 19 Sep. 2002, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to a preliminary report of the joint congressional intelligence panel on 18 September 2002, "U.S. intelligence agencies received many more indications than previously disclosed that Osama bin Laden's terrorist network was planning imminent 'spectacular' attacks in the summer of 2001 aimed at inflicting mass casualties."


Priest, Dana, and Dan Eggen. "Officials Question FBI Terror Readiness." Washington Post, 12 Nov. 2002, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"[M]any government officials are growing concerned that the FBI is dangerously unprepared to detect or thwart [terrorist] strikes on U.S. soil.... The FBI's ability to convert from a primarily case-oriented criminal justice agency into a domestic investigatory body is being questioned and debated with great urgency by the National Security Council, members of Congress and intelligence experts who have been called in to help out. FBI officials strongly dispute critics' assessment of their preparations."


Priest, Dana, and Juliet Eilperin. "Disputes Stall Panel Probing Sept. 11 Lapses." Washington Post, 14 Jun. 2002, A10 . [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"After meeting for two weeks and hearing from one witness, the special House-Senate intelligence panel investigating the Sept. 11 attacks bogged down [on 13 June 2002] amid differences among members over the panel's direction, schedule and access to classified information. The joint committee canceled a planned session, and Senate members met by themselves instead to discuss their dissatisfaction with the panel's performance, with some expressing unhappiness that their House colleagues have dominated the sessions."


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