The Washington Post on the U.S. Intelligence Industry
The Washington Post has published a phenomenal piece of investigative journalism: a long, detailed, and very interesting expose on the U.S. intelligence industry (overall website; parts 1, 2, and 3; blog; Washington reactions; top 10 revelations; many many many blog comments and reactions; and so on).
It’s a truly excellent piece of investigative journalism. Pity people don’t care much about investigative journalism — or facts in politics, really — anymore.
EDITED TO ADD (7/26): Jay Rosen writes:
Last week, it was the Washington Post’s big series, Top Secret America, two years in the making. It reported on the massive security shadowland that has arisen since 09/11. The Post basically showed that there is no accountability, no knowledge at the center of what the system as a whole is doing, and too much “product” to make intelligent use of. We’re wasting billions upon billions of dollars on an intelligence system that does not work. It’s an explosive finding but the explosive reactions haven’t followed, not because the series didn’t do its job, but rather: the job of fixing what is broken would break the system responsible for such fixes.
The mental model on which most investigative journalism is based states that explosive revelations lead to public outcry; elites get the message and reform the system. But what if elites believe that reform is impossible because the problems are too big, the sacrifices too great, the public too distractible? What if cognitive dissonance has been insufficiently accounted for in our theories of how great journalism works…and often fails to work?
EDITED TO ADD (7/27): More.