Washington Post's 'Secret America' Has Intel in Uproar

Monday, 19 Jul 2010 02:39 PM

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The e-mail from the national intelligence director’s “Mission Support Center” was unprecedented. It warned federal government intelligence contractors that they were about to be “outed” by a team of Washington Post reporters who planned to set up a website listing government agencies and private contractors allegedly conducting top secret work.

“The website is expected to enable users to see the relationships between the federal government and its contractors, describe the type of work the contractors perform, and may identify many government and contractor facility locations,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) warned its private industry partners.

“We request that all ODNI contractors remind all cleared employees of their responsibility to protect classified information and relationships . . . Employees should be reminded that they must neither confirm nor deny information contained in this, or any, media publication,”

The e-mail warned contractors of the possible damage that could result from The Washington Post’s special project, which debuted today with the headline, “Top Secret America.”

“Foreign intelligence services, terrorist organizations, and criminal elements will have potential interest in this kind of information,” the e-mail warned. “It is important that companies review their overall counterintelligence posture to ensure that it is appropriate.”

The ODNI confirmed to Newsmax this morning the authenticity of this message, sent to contractors on Thursday.

The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security sent a similar notice to all State Department employees on Thursday, instructing them to protect classified information and forward all media inquires about classified operations to the public affairs shop.

“Although the Washington Post acquired the information from open sources, all Department personnel should remain aware of their responsibility to protect classified and other sensitive information, such as the Department's relationships with contract firms, other U.S. Government agencies, and foreign governments,” the State Department notice reads.

Bloggers with ties to the intelligence and special operations community have been calling the Post’s series “treasonous” and calling the reporters “traitors,” but the Post insists it culled its database from open source information and published contracts.

Post reporters William Arkin and Dana Priest have a long history of revealing information that the U.S. government spends lots of money trying to keep secret.

Arkin is a database wonk who published a 600-plus page compendium in 2005 called “Code Names,” which examined the explosion of top-secret defense and intelligence programs identified in budgetary documents with code names such as “Polo Step” and “Big Safari.”

Arkin is best known as the coauthor of the Nuclear Weapons Databook, an authoritative reference book published by the anti-nuclear Natural Resources Defense Council. He also has worked for left-wing groups, including Greenpeace and Human Rights Watch, and has written an occasional column for The Washington Post since 1998.

Priest won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing the CIA’s “secret prisons” of Afghanistan, including highly classified details of the U.S. “extraordinary rendition” program to capture al-Qaida terrorists and send them to other countries where they were interrogated and sometimes tortured.

As I reported in my book, “Shadow Warriors: Traitors, Saboteurs and the Party of Surrender,” Priest showed her partisan political agenda by appearing on an October 2003 panel hosted by the Center for International Policy, a hard-left group run by William Goodfellow. That center was “created with the assistance of the Marxist Chilean diplomat and suspected Cuban spy Orlando Letelier, who was assassinated in Washington, D.C.,” according to Accuracy in Media, a conservative watchdog group.

The panel, called “Cowboy Diplomacy,” lit a match under protests that soon became Democrat Party policy against the alleged “rush to war” in Iraq. In addition to Priest, participants included the center’s national security director, Melvin Goodman, a retired CIA analyst who has backed conspiracy theorists who claimed that George W. Bush was behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

Priest is married to Goodfellow but has never disclosed that relationship when discussing her reporting on national security issues.

Goodfellow’s group describes its mission as "Promoting a U.S. foreign policy based on international cooperation, demilitarization and respect for human rights.”

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