WASHINGTON, July 19 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government has been expanding its national security and intelligence system since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, and the network has grown so big and complex that no one can tell its exact size, local media reported Monday.
According to the front page story on the Washington Post, the "top-secret world" the government created in response to the terrorist attacks 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," with its effectiveness "impossible to determine."
The investigation found what amounts to an "alternative geography of the United States, a top secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight."
The report said 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, with an estimated 854,000 people holding 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 1.58 million square meters of space.
The report concluded the magnitude of this bureaucracy has resulted in redundancy and waste, as 51 federal organizations and military commands located in 15 U.S. cities dedicate themselves to tracking the flow of money to and from terrorist networks, and spy agencies produce 50,000 intelligence reports each year, a volume so large that "many are routinely ignored."
The report is anticipated by the government, which has released a memo to counter the claims.