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Official & unofficial answers from the US government

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[July 16] State Department warns employees about new website highlighting Top Secret facilities. The State Department is bracing for a potentially explosive new feature on the Washington Post website that would publish the names and locations of agencies and firms conducting Top Secret work on behalf of the U.S. government, according to the copy of an email obtained by The Cable.

[July 16] State Department warns employees about new website highlighting Top Secret facilities

The Diplomatic Security Bureau at State sent out a notice Thursday to all department employees warning them to protect classified information and reject inquiries from the press when the new web feature goes live. "The Washington Post plans to publish a website listing all agencies and contractors believed to conduct Top Secret work on behalf of the U.S. Government," the notice reads. "The website provides a graphic representation pinpointing the location of firms conducting Top Secret work, describing the type of work they perform, and identifying many facilities where such work is done.

" According to the notice, the Post used only open-source information to compile its site. Here's the full notice: [July 19] Acting Director of National Intelligence, David C. Gompert, reaction to the Washington Post series. [July 19] Intelcrats’ Awesomely Bad Pushback to ‘Top Secret America’ This, for instance, is how the top intelligence office responds to the “myth” that intel contractors perform “inherently governmental” activities: The Intelligence Community does not condone or permit contract personnel to perform inherently governmental intelligence work, as defined by OMB Circular A-76 revised, and reinforced recently in Intelligence Community Directive 612.

[July 19] Intelcrats’ Awesomely Bad Pushback to ‘Top Secret America’

Core contract personnel may perform activities such as collection and analysis; however, it is what you do with that analysis, who makes that decision, and who oversees the work that constitute the “inherently governmental” functions. Allocating funds, prioritizing workload, and making critical decisions remain strictly within the purview of government employees. See? We’re not hiring corporations to make the government run!

Then there’s this attempt at contextualizing the volume of data collected: That sure sounds impressive. One more. I know. Credit: Air Force See Also: [July 20] Intel Chief: Don’t Get ‘Shrill’ About Spooks-for-Hire. Some of America’s spy agencies probably rely too much on outside companies.

[July 20] Intel Chief: Don’t Get ‘Shrill’ About Spooks-for-Hire

But don’t freak out about spooks-for-hire just because of a newspaper article or two, Director of National Intelligence nominee James Clapper told the Senate intelligence committee Tuesday afternoon. It’s an understatement to say that the Washington Post‘s series on the sprawl of the intelligence community hung over Clapper’s nomination hearing.

Most senators on the panel asked Clapper, the current chief of defense intelligence and decades-long intel veteran, about how he’d exercise control over one of its key themes: what Senator Olympia Snowe called the intelligence “mega-bureaucracy.” But Clapper wasn’t so thrilled with the series. “I think there was some breathless[ness] and shrillness to that that I don’t subscribe to,” he said, adding that he’s “very concerned about security implications” after the Post revealed the (not-so-specific) locations of companies contracting with the intelligence community.