An Interactive Map of Top Secret America, Two Years in the Making
November 23, 2011
“A hidden world, growing beyond control.” That’s what two senior investigative reporters at the Washington Post call the sprawling network of secretive government organizations and contractors created after the September 11th attacks. Two years ago, Dana Priest and William M. Arkin set out to map that world, and what they found was so staggering, the project has been given its own landing page full of stories, videos, and exhaustive interactive map(s).
The Top Secret America rhizome is made up of 45 organizations, each with hundreds of sub-organizations and programs. The bureaucratic infrastructure is so dense and huge that only a few employees even know of every program. Almost a million people hold top-secret security clearances. One of the “super users” who holds the absolute highest clearance told Priest and Arkin, “I’m not going to live long enough to be briefed on everything.”
Of particular interest is the duo’s reports on the physical infrastructure developed after 9/11. They say that while intelligence offices used to be located along US borders, in the last ten years thousands have been opened in the heart of the country – almost four thousand, in fact.
You can go check out the beautiful, elegant visualization here.