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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)

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