Of all the bovine poo being slung about as the 20th approaches, we should not allow one item to pass unridiculed, even though it’s already done its work.
Never missing an opportunity to misdirect the public, the MSM managed to slip one past people. (For example, see this.) Amid the recent bogus “hacking” claims lay another more sinister and misleading claim that will sit in people’s brains as their concept of “US intelligence”.
By obliquely entering the number 17 - not as the story, but as a support of the story - this lie makes it look like 17 buildings filled with offices and intelligence worker-geeks had difficulty uncovering evil-doers over the course of the campaign year.
By mentioning 17 agencies, how many worker-geeks could that be? If each building has 1000 workers, then maybe 17,000 people couldn’t uncover the evil-doers? Well, that’s bad, but those evil-doers are crafty! So, the story is bought, swallowed whole and digested. Done.
Using only a computer search, the material I encountered doesn't begin to describe our vast intelligence sector, and most of it didn't include private contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton that Edward Snowden worked for. And, for those who might be radical enough to doubt, a simple search with your friendly government ally, Google, will get you back into the fold: see this, and this.
For a much more in-depth material on our "intelligence" complex, some six and a half years ago Dana Priest and William Arkin with a staff of 20 journalists published Top Secret America, Parts I, II, and III in the Washington Post (before Bezos bought it). Here's an excerpt:
* 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.Now we have close to 1 million worker geeks who, over the course of 12 months, couldn’t find a traceable hack in emails which they themselves were collecting and monitoring – with the ability (according to William Binney and Ray McGovern who had long careers in NSA and CIA) to “identify both sender and recipient of any and all data crossing the network.” Oh, really? Well, maybe that makes MSM's story even less believable. Maybe that puts the whole story right up there with the 19 kids with utility knives who outsmarted the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, NORAD, the Pentagon, ….
* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold 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 17 million square feet of space.