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Secret Agents Will Destroy Us All

 US stocks continue to climb. The Dow has passed the 15,000 milestone.

What’s ahead?

A mood of prophecy, perhaps brought on by a large helping of osso bucco from our local Italian restaurant, came over us last night. We looked into the future. And there we saw a grim world.

As we reported last week, public life bumbles along under a combination of false pretences and self-imposed delusions. Monday’s news told us that the worst enemy Americans now face is themselves.

For every one of them bumped off by a terrorist, nearly a thousand more do themselves in — using everything from pistols, to automobiles, to household cleaners.

But instead of declaring war on themselves or even turning in their firearms — which would be the logical response — they hire armies of guards, gumshoes, cops and spooks to protect themselves…from someone else!

The enemy is invisible, they argue. Their champions must be invisible too. After all, they are engaged in a hidden war with an enemy who can’t be seen by the naked eye. In fact, he can’t be seen with telescopes or microscopes either. Because he doesn’t much exist.

Even those few crackpots and malcontents who might want to strike a blow against the US lack the organisation, training, tanks, missiles, computers, artillery, ships, guns, trucks…and all the other paraphernalia that might make even a tiny dent in the imperial armour.

So the ‘war’ must remain a secret. It takes place in the shadows…a kind of imaginary battle…in which thousands of make-believe soldiers pretend to protect Western civilisation from millions of fantastic foreign fiends.

How many combatants? How much military hardware is on the field? How much will this war cost?

We can’t tell you. It’s classified! The Washington Post told the tale:

The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, 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.

These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

The investigation’s other findings include:

  • 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.
  • An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, DC, 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 US Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space.
  • Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 US cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.
  • Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year — a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.

In the spirit of civic improvement and solidarity, we offer a modest suggestion. Instead of screening people in airports to find those who forgot to take the mouthwash out of their hand luggage, why not ask travellers if they have considered blowing their brains out?

Those who answer in the affirmative could be assigned three or four federal employees with security clearances to watch them day and night. The suicide rate would plummet.

As it is, our spook resources are clearly underused. There are probably 10,000 security personnel for every potential terrorist. What do all these people do? What will happen to a nation that devotes so much of its resources to fighting a war with largely imaginary enemies?

‘You get what you pay for,’ said Milton Friedman.

Spending billions on terrorism is bound to produce terrorists. How long will it be before the clandestine terrorist agencies begin their own campaigns of terror? Perhaps they already have.

With so many secret agencies plotting, conniving, enticing, luring, fomenting, and sowing their evil seeds, it won’t be long before something takes root.

One group of spooks will lay a trap…and catch another group…and accuse a third group, whom they will mistake for real terrorists. One bomb will go off. Another attempt will be thwarted at the last minute. Still another group — led on a double agent and financed by secret funds provided by the taxpayer — will be hauled in front of the TV cameras…

The public (the same people whose most lethal enemy stares at them from the mirror) will panic. Convinced that a hell-bent terrorist hides behind every bush, they will demand even more protection…more lockdowns…more secret programs…and more jackbooted spooks.

The harder we looked…the more we didn’t like what we saw.

Regards,
 

Bill Bonner
for The Daily Reckoning Australia

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From the Archives…

The US Federal Reserve: What a Humiliating Failure!
3-05-13 – Bill Bonner

The End of the Road
2-05-13 – Bill Bonner

Why Apple’s Advantage is Gone
1-05-13 ­– Dan Denning

The Kamikaze Rally That Could Drive Stocks Higher
30-04-13 – Dan Denning

Australian Deficit: Where Did the Money Go?
29-04-13 – Dan Denning

 

3 Comments

  1. slewie the pi-rat says:

    well, if you’re not doing anything wrong, humor them!

    my last attempt at an airport, i had some fruit in my back-pack. and a TSA lock, which i left on the bag.

    sit over here, slewie.
    ~ is there some problem, 0 my dear?
    or ~ is there some problem? O! my dear!

    my line has to be stopped and they open an adjacent one or two of the 14 other unused lines.

    staff appears as if by magic! i have tied up only 4 this time. so far. but i was two hours early, so i had to do something!

    one time, i forgot to put the aloe vera gel in the checked bag. so i put it down my pants! and made it! but i was not gratuitously irradiated that day. too much.

    so they are frying my freaking back-pack with my TSA lock on it.

    it is like x-rays for something bad: one angle, then another.
    and i’m telling them to go ahead and open it so they can paw thru my personal property WITH my consent, if they wished. i’m not a criminal. in this state. i’m an american!

    so, that settled THAT!

    i started offering to open the lock, myself, and unzip it and dump everything out, one-handed.

    i was to remain seated.
    i told her i had lost so much weight since i bought these jeans, if i stood up without my belt, my pants would fall down and wouldn’t that be her lucky day?

    please stay seated.
    can i have my belt, please?
    no. not … yet.

    meanwhile the x-ray techs are still doing their analysis.

    i’m pretty old, and do you realize how much i want to stand up and have my pants fall down so you can bend over and help me with them before you agree to run away from this, with me?

    she knows when she is beat when she gets back with the final analysis, and? there is some fruit, within the unlocked zipper compartments, some metal stuff with extremely different characteristics under the lock, and a what appears to be a half-full bottle of water, not zip-locked.

    so the water stays, every thing else GOES!
    i am so thirsty! can i drink it? please?

    sure! but you will hafta go back out into the airport to drink it, and back thru this line to get to your plane.
    you are free to go.

    so, i stood up, threw my arms in the air, with “Touchdown, Raiders,” and …

  2. slewie the pi-rat says:

    the backpack had all zippers closed, one locked, when i left to get body-scanned.

    and i had the plastic tray going, too, with my pack.

    at the end, when i told her i had decided not to drink the water, she said the agents would take it out and toss it.

    can i have the empty?
    no.

    as far as i could tell, that was the only time they opened ANY zippers on my backpack, and i had the option of going back into the ticketing area with it, UNOPENED, to drink the H2O, and come back thru with the empty water bottle.

    or with it, half-full, again.
    senior pants day!

  3. shortchanged says:

    Who guards the guardians, Bill.

    Still a bit strange, slewie, but had a good laugh, might be able to understand you one day, zippers included.

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