Dana Priest — whose Pulitzer prize winning journalism exposed the existence ofÃ‚Â U.S. secret prisons abroad, continues in today’s story to show just how much money is being shelled out to the private companies that now operate the lion’s share of America’s spy network.
From the road, it’s impossible to tell how large the NSA has become, even though its buildings occupy 6.3 million square feet – about the size of the Pentagon – and are surrounded by 112 acres of parking spaces. As massive as that might seem, documents indicate that the NSA is only going to get bigger: 10,000 more workers over the next 15 years; $2 billion to pay for just the first phase of expansion; an overall increase in size that will bring its building space throughout the Fort Meade cluster to nearly 14 million square feet.
More than 250 companies – 13 percent of all the firms in Top Secret America – have a presence in the Fort Meade cluster. Some have multiple offices, such as Northrop Grumman, which has 19, and SAIC, which has 11. In all, there are 681 locations in the Fort Meade cluster where businesses conduct top-secret work…ADVERTISEMENT
The existence of these clusters is so little known that most people don’t realize when they’re nearing the epicenter of Fort Meade’s, even when the GPS on their car dashboard suddenly begins giving incorrect directions, trapping the driver in a series of U-turns, because the government is jamming all nearby signals…
Once this happens, it means that ground zero – the National Security Agency – is close by. But it’s not easy to tell where. Trees, walls and a sloping landscape obscure the NSA’s presence from most vantage points, and concrete barriers, fortified guard posts and warning signs stop those without authorization from entering the grounds of the largest intelligence agency in the United States.
Drinking or over-extending your credit card limit is a no-no.
Inside the locations are employees who must submit to strict, intrusive rules. They take lie-detector tests routinely, sign nondisclosure forms and file lengthy reports whenever they travel overseas. They are coached on how to deal with nosy neighbors and curious friends. Some are trained to assume false identities.ADVERTISEMENT
If they drink too much, borrow too much money or socialize with citizens from certain countries, they can lose their security clearances, and a clearance is the passport to a job for life at the NSA and its sister intelligence organizations…
Training spies is a serious job, apparently:
That white van is followed by five others just like it. Inside each one, two government agents in training at the secretive Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy are trying not to get lost as they careen around local roads practicing “discreet surveillance” – in this case, following a teacher in the role of a spy. The real job of these agents from the Army, U.S. Customs and other government agencies is to identify foreign spies and terrorists targeting their organizations, to locate the spies within and to gather evidence to take action against them.
WATCH: Katie Porter explains to constituents why her conscience demands support for Trump impeachment inquiry
Congresswoman Katie Porter, in a video posted on social media Monday night, shared with residents of her purple California district why she is joining dozens of other Democrats who support launching an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
"I didn't come to Congress to impeach the president," said the first-term representative. "But when faced with a crisis of this magnitude, I cannot with a clean conscience ignore my duty to defend the Constitution. I can't claim to be committed to rooting out corruption and putting people over politics and then not apply those same principles and standards in all of the work I do."
Bernie Sanders calls fact that minimum wage worker cannot afford 2-bedroom apartment in any US state ‘a national disgrace’
For a decade, U.S. lawmakers have kept the federal minimum wage at a level which increasingly leaves workers unable to afford housing.
That's according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). The group's 30th annual study of housing affordability found that a worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25—which is unchanged since 2009—cannot afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment in any state, metropolitan area, or county in the United States.
There is growing concern that China is trying to use universities to silence its critics in the West
This is an important year in Chinese history. It marks the anniversaries of two political movements involving students and scholars: the May Fourth Movement and the Tiananmen Square protests – known in China as the June Fourth Incident.
The May Fourth Movement of 1919 challenged traditional Chinese values and authorities and demanded freedom of speech and democracy. Seventy years later – and 40 years after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had taken power – students, scholars, and other citizens mobilised again in defence of freedom of speech, human rights, and democratic values. But on June 4 1989, the CCP brutally crushed their movement. The crackdown created a legacy of heavily censored wrongs that cannot be righted while the current system lasts.