Those figures don’t include the Iraq War, despite the Bush administration’s declaration that Iraq was part of the Global War on Terror (GWOT), nor do they include anti-terrorism spending by the CIA, whose budget is secret. And along with all those billions spent, we created a gigantic surveillance apparatus, memorably described in Dana Priest and William Arkin’s 2010 series “Top Secret America.”
“Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States,” they wrote. Despite their extensive efforts to document this colossus, “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.”
And there is little sign that President Obama has the inclination or the ability to rein in this leviathan.