Reporting on Top Secret America

Friday, July 23, 2010


This week The Washington Post released the first three installments of a series called Top Secret America , about the boom in government agencies and private companies dealing with intelligence and security in the years since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. William M. Arkin, one of the authors of the series, explains that in order to wrap their heads around the issue, he and the staff of the Post had to build an enormous database with hundreds of thousands of documents.

Comments [5]

Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

And hope that North Korea doesn't start a nuclear war in the meantime.

Jul. 27 2010 01:54 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Well, hindsight is so enlightening!

Just after the NY Times insightful analysis of their own data mining, they publish the work, of which they, at least, were already aware, of Mr. Assange's painting the picture of a beleaguered empire in the throws of a death grip of cross purposes in their military's own words. The only problem with that is that the entire world faces an existential threat if we add one more unstable, nuclear armed entity which is what the tribal areas of all of Afghanistan and all of Pakistan could become.

Americans should learn not to become so shocked when its policies become public. War is hell and it always has been. While we laud the "greatest" generation, we often forget that they, as a rule, denied us the truth of their wartime experiences which, I have little doubt, include myriad stories much like those told in these dispatches of collateral damages, false tips, and petty rivalries avenged.

Still, I can see no alternative but to win it.

Jul. 27 2010 01:53 AM
Thomas Retterbush from USA

I just finished reading, The Secret History of America, a FREE PDF Ebook I Download, with no email needed, no sign-up and obligation, at This ebook tells all about Top Secret America.

Jul. 26 2010 05:59 AM
F Haber from NYC

A great story on process, the process of collecting/codifying/reporting a really great investigative story. As was said, reporting and data mining are finally merging, and leveraging the dwindling resources of the press.

Production nit: Yes, I heard you fade the levels up a minute or so in. Moral: set levels; perhaps use the compressor (or the miraculous Levelator).

Jul. 25 2010 12:16 PM
Judy Gosnell from Grants Pass, Oregon

I had a driveway moment this morning listening to your story re Top Secret America. It was mesmerizing. I always enjoy your program. Our country so needs this kind of journalism. Thank you.

Jul. 24 2010 06:16 PM

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