Top Secret America: A hidden world, growing beyond control

Washington Post

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.

 These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. 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. 

The investigation’s other findings include:

* 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.

* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.

* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year – a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.

These are not academic issues; lack of focus, not lack of resources, was at the heart of the Fort Hood shooting that left 13 dead, as well as the Christmas Day bomb attempt thwarted not by the thousands of analysts employed to find lone terrorists but by an alert airline passenger who saw smoke coming from his seatmate.

They are also issues that greatly concern some of the people in charge of the nation’s security.

“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 defense – is a challenge,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in an interview with The Post last week.

In the Department of Defense, where more than two-thirds of the intelligence programs reside, only a handful of senior officials – called Super Users – have the ability to even know about all the department’s activities. But as two of the Super Users indicated in interviews, there is simply no way they can keep up with the nation’s most sensitive work.

“I’m not going to live long enough to be briefed on everything” was how one Super User put it. The other recounted that for his initial briefing, he was escorted into a tiny, dark room, seated at a small table and told he couldn’t take notes. Program after program began flashing on a screen, he said, until he yelled ”Stop!” in frustration.

“I wasn’t remembering any of it,” he said.

Underscoring the seriousness of these issues are the conclusions of retired Army Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who was asked last year to review the method for tracking the Defense Department’s most sensitive programs. Vines, who once commanded 145,000 troops in Iraq and is familiar with complex problems, was stunned by what he discovered.  Read the complete details…

U.S. 30ft Spaceship is Loaded and Ready in Orbit

Times Online

Somewhere above earth is America’s latest spaceship, a 30ft craft so classified that the Pentagon will not divulge its mission nor howX37B much it cost to build.

The mysterious X37B, launched successfully by the US Air Force from Cape Canaveral on Thursday, using an Atlas V rocket, looks like a mini-Space Shuttle — but its mission is top secret.

It is officially described as an orbital test vehicle. However, one of its potential uses appears to be to launch a surge of small satellites during periods of high international tension. This would enable America to have eyes and ears orbiting above any potential troublespot in the world.

The X37B can stay in orbit for up to 270 days, whereas the Shuttle can last only 16 days. This will provide the US with the ability to carry out experiments for long periods, including the testing of new laser weapon systems. This would bring accusations that the launch of X37B, and a second vehicle planned for later this year, could lead to the militarisation of space.

US defence officials, who would not say how much the project had cost, insisted, however, that it was “just an updated version of the Space Shuttle activities”.

Thursday’s launch was more about testing the craft, a new generation of silica tile and a wealth of other advances that make the Shuttle look like yesterday’s space technology.

Nasa’s X37B programme began in 1999 and ran until September 2004 when it was transferred to the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency before being taken over by the US Air Force.

The flight of the X37B is being managed by the US Air Force Space Command’s 3rd Space Experimental Squadron.

“This bird has been through all of the shake, rattle and roll, the vibration tests, the acoustic tests that any spacecraft would go through,” said Gary Payton, Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space Programmes.

With all the focus on the launch of the secret X37B, another space launch by a Minotaur IV rocket from Vandenberg Air Force base in California received less attention.

It was carrying the prototype of a new weapon that can hit any target around the world in less than an hour.

The Prompt Global Strike is designed as the conventional weapon of the future. It could hit Osama bin Laden’s cave, an Iranian nuclear site or a North Korean missile with a huge conventional warhead.

The super-classified network that served as command and control for the 9/11 false flag attack on America

Wayne Madsen Report

Multiple U.S. intelligence sources have reported to WMR that a super-classified network with only some 70 terminals in select U.S. government locations handled the parallel command-and-control activities that permitted the 9/11 terrorist attacks to be successful.

The “above top secret” network bears the acronym “PDAS.” WMR has not yet discovered what the acronym stands for, however, the system is limited to only a few hundred people with Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) Special Access Program (SAP) need-to-know access, in addition to the president and vice president.

On September 11, 2001, PDAS was used to convey the information from the Air Force Chief of Staff to the White House, CIA, and other select agencies that the Air Force had successfully intercepted and downed a target over Pennsylvania. It is believed that the “target” in question was United flight 93, although there is no confirmation that the aircraft was in fact the one downed by Air Force interceptors.

The Air Force Chief of Staff on 9/11 was General John Jumper, who had become the top Air Force commander on September 6, 2001, just five days before the 9/11 attacks.

There is also reason to believe that the PDAS terminal at the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) at the White House was used to coordinate the activities related to the aerial attack on the Pentagon. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta claimed Vice President Dick Cheney was present at the PEOC at 9:25 am on the morning of 9/11, before the alleged impact of American Airlines flight 77 on the building.

Mineta testified before the 9/11 Commission that Cheney was aware of special orders concerning a plane heading toward Washington. Mineta said: “During the time that the airplane was coming into the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the vice president . . . the plane is 50 miles out . . . the plane is 30 miles out. . . . and when it got down to the plane is 10 miles out, the young man also said to the vice president ‘do the orders still stand?’ And the vice president turned and whipped his neck around and said, ‘Of course the orders still stand, have you heard anything to the contrary?’”

PDAS terminals are reportedly located at the White House, on board Air Force One, the Pentagon, CIA headquarters, the National Security Agency, the Boeing E-4 Advanced Airborne Command Post that was seen flying over Washington, DC, on 9/11 after the attacks, the Defense Intelligence Agency at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, DC, and the Raven Rock Mountain Complex in Pennsylvania where Cheney hid out after the 9/11 attacks.

Mineta later followed up with reporters and stated, “When I overheard something about ‘the orders still stand’ and so, what I thought of was that they had already made the decision to shoot something down.”

It now appears that PDAS was used by Cheney to implement on the morning of 9/11 a new policy issued on June 1, 2001 that provided for a ”stand down” protocol that replaced a long-standing shoot-down order for hijacked and suspected hijacked planes. The new order transferred the authority to shoot down aircraft from the Pentagon and NORAD military commanders to the president, vice president, or secretary of defense.