PLEDGE NOW
Top Secret America

The explosion of America’s intelligence world after 9/11. We’ll look at security, civil liberties, and the cost of everything that’s now top secret.

The headquarters of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Md. (AP)

The headquarters of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Md. (AP)

Since 9.11, America’s world of top secret intelligence and security operations has exploded in scale and reach. However big you may think it is, odds are it’s much, much bigger.

A vast, underground, often unaccountable sprawling universe of agents and agencies, public and private, tracking and tracing and probing, and killing.

Ten years on, it’s time to take stock of whether it’s defending or infringing. We’ll do that today with Dana Priest of the Washington Post, and Glenn Greenwald of Salon.

This hour On Point: the explosion of top secret America.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Dana Priest, staff writer for the Washington Post, who covers national security, intelligence, and counterterrorism. Her new book, co-authored with William M. Arkin,  is “Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State.”

Read an excerpt, and watch the Frontline documentary based on the book.

Glenn Greenwald, previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York, he is a blogger for Salon.com and the author of “Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics.”

Vance Gilbert, folk musician who had a high-profile altercation with airport security this summer.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Washington Post “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.”

Salon.com “The ACLU decided to use the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack to comprehensively survey the severe erosion of civil liberties justified in the name of that event, an erosion that — as it documents — continues unabated, indeed often in accelerated form, under the Obama administration.”

Boston Globe “A well-known member of the local folk scene, Gilbert maintains that after boarding a United Airlines flight on Aug. 14, he was pulled off the plane and questioned about his fanny pack (which he’d tucked into his backpack under the seat in front of him) and about a book he was reading on historic planes.”

More

FRONTLINE | Sneak Peek: Inside “Top Secret America” | PBS

Tom Ashbrook with Vance Gilbert (Jesse Costa / WBUR)

Tom Ashbrook with Vance Gilbert (Jesse Costa / WBUR)

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 4, 2015
A paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body of a migrant child after a number of migrants died and a smaller number were reported missing after boats carrying them to the Greek island of Kos capsized, near the Turkish resort of Bodrum early Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. (DHA/AP)

Migrant crisis in Europe. The Iran deal, cleared. A Kentucky clerk and gay marriage. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Sep 4, 2015
Serena Williams reacts after winning a point against Kiki Bertens, of the Netherlands, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Serena Williams. The undisputed queen of tennis, and what she’s meant in sports and beyond.

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 3, 2015
Journalists protest the murder of photojournalist Ruben Espinosa Becerril in Mexico City, on Aug. 2, 2015. (Marco Ugarte/AP)

Three Vice News journalists arrested in Turkey. A wave of journalists in prison. In graves. We’ll look at journalists worldwide under pressure.

 
Sep 3, 2015
A television screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the decision of the Federal Reserve, on July 29, 2015. The Federal Reserve may raise interest rates soon. (Richard Drew/AP)

Should the Fed finally raise interest rates? In spite of the stock market roller coaster? We’ll dig into the Fed weighing the end of free money.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Martin O’Malley On ‘Rigged’ Democratic Debates
Wednesday, Sep 2, 2015

Former Baltimore mayor and Democratic Maryland governor Martin O’Malley has single digits in the polls in Iowa but is out there swinging. He joined host Tom Ashbrook on Wednesday.

More »
3 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: August 28, 2015
Friday, Aug 28, 2015

You say #hashtag, we say, #forwhat? That, plus Usain Bolt and the ominous lurking Segway cameraman. Friday!

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: August 21, 2015
Friday, Aug 21, 2015

Do you even click? (And other reflections on link sharing and web commenting).

More »
6 Comments