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…
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.
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.
Chris Wallace battles GOP chairwoman over laptop smear: ‘Do you have any proof Joe Biden took one penny?’
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel on Sunday refused to say if she had any proof of allegations of corruption against Democratic nominee Joe Biden's son Hunter.
Fox News host Chris Wallace grilled McDaniel about the Trump campaign's smear against the Biden family on Fox News Sunday.
"Do you have any proof -- because he's denied it -- do you have any proof that Joe Biden every took one penny from either a foreign country or a foreign company?" Wallace asked.
"I think that's incumbent upon the press to start investigating," McDaniel replied. "I think what's frightening is we should have a free and fair press that should be looking at a laptop that has not been disputed by the Biden campaign to be authentic. These emails are deeply troubling as it looks like Hunter Biden is negotiating with a Chinese energy company to profit, not just for himself, but for his father."
‘Terrified little boy’ Trump is going to ‘burn it all down’ because he can’t face losing the election: Mary Trump
In an interview with the Guardian, Donald Trump's niece, Mary Trump said there is no telling what will happen in the final days of the 2020 presidential and then its aftermath, but she is worried that the president will "burn it all down" as he is faced with losing the election and then facing criminal charges in the aftermath.
Relying on her background as a psychologist, the president's niece issued a dire warning that if the president goes down, he will try to take everything around him down with him.
‘Dark moment for the Senate’: Republicans block consideration of COVID relief to speed up Barrett confirmation
Republicans on Saturday blocked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's attempt during a rare weekend session to force consideration of a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill as the GOP rushed ahead with its effort to confirm right-wing judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court just before the November election.
After a speech decrying the Barrett confirmation process as "a very dark moment for the Senate," Schumer requested unanimous consent for the chamber to take up a revised version of the HEROES Act that the Democrat-controlled House passed earlier this month. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused to allow a Senate vote on the bill despite growing suffering across the nation and warnings that failure to approve additional spending could cause lasting damage to the economy.