Some of you may not have been able to watch Frontline last night so I am putting my letter to the editor here for you to read.
If you've ever wondered what happened to that huge Clinton money surplus from the Clinton years, the PBS special Frontline can tell you where much of it went. Tonight (Tuesday evening) Frontline ran a special called "Top Secret America". Pulitzer prize winning journalist Dana Priest spent two years investigating the secret world of the CIA.
Following 9/11 the Bush government spared no cost in setting up a vast CIA sub city in Baltimore. Luxurious homes and schools ten times bigger and better then the surrounding area are marks of the affluent group of agents who moved to work and live there. New buildings with ten stories underground and many more above ground with only numbers on the outsides of the buildings but no other markings or signs to indicate exactly what goes on there hide the phone tapping operation that is just one of the major operations that occurs in those buildings. That operation covers the world including our own private conversations here in America. This is a very secret operation. And it goes much further than necessary because it doesn't work.
The government spent billions of dollars buying Afghan war lords to help us win the "war on terror". $200,000 here and $250,000 there. Then when the president wanted to move into Iraq, they wasted eight months of time and billions more in money trying to locate weapons of mass destruction that never existed... to justify going to war there. But the president was sure there were WMD there.
They hired very expensive "contractors" to fight much of the secret part of the war and even do the menial jobs of cooking and cleaning up after the soldiers. They even paid mess hall staff and table clearers $69,000. That administration knew how to spend money.
They then built intricate Black Site secret prison systems in many other countries so we could let those other governments "interrogate" our "renditioned" prisoners with "enhanced interrogation" techniques. We were no longer the nice guys. Long gone were the days when German prisoners surrendered in droves knowing Americans didn't torture.
Programs for the poor get scrapped but other "top secret" programs get all the money they want. Revenge costs lots of money even if the huge expanded CIA program didn't work very well. Several terrorists were caught getting prepared to attack America but the CIA or the NSA didn't catch them. Citizens did. The government found they could not possibly sort through all the information they collected. They spent billions of dollars paying these private contractors even more then government employees. How much was spent altogether is a state secret.
But the war in Iraq went badly and the one in Afghanistan not much better.
But there's much more.
I hope our citizens will log on to PBS.org and watch the complete program so they will know for themselves how our secretly run government actually works.
Times have changed...and not altogether for the better.