Although it took a lot of effort, it has been possible to collect quite a bit of information on organizations as the Pilgrims Society, the 1001 Club, Le Cercle the American Security Council, the AFIO, OSS Society and other very influential but low profile - or outright secretive - private groups. However, as soon as the official government bureaucracy enters the picture, getting information (luckily) becomes infinitely more difficult to find - and in most cases: impossible. Security is much tighter. Outsiders simply can't get to the story, while insiders cannot speak out due to national security laws. In the most sensitive military projects insiders intending to make unauthorized disclosures can find themselves in jail for life or risk assassination, certainly if these individuals are looking to contact enemy governments. All this is many times less likely to happen with people speaking out about civilian groups.
The majority of members in top-level supranational discussion groups as Bilderberg and the Trilateral Commission only seem to have a limited idea of what is going on in black programs of the military, certainly when it involves a foreign government. The secretary of defense and some of his assistants know, a few members of Congress are supposed to know, the heads of various private military contractors know, national security veterans on the Defense Policy Board, Defense Science Board and a number of other top-level civilian advisory groups also seem to have a good idea of what is going, and one assumes that incoming presidents are fully informed of these projects whenever they desire to know the full military and technological capabilities at their disposal.
But what if they aren't? What if, for example, a sitting conservative Republican president and secretary of defense decide to conspire with certain private Pentagon contractors to keep a number of projects hidden from an incoming liberal Democrat president and his administration? Is that possible? One hopes not. One thinks Congress or someone in the know would speak up. However, as ISGP's Superclass Index demonstrates, old boy networks in most key government positions are the norm. Even the idea that everything will be fine as long as the president is kept informed is very questionable based on the fact that no one becomes president who has not beforehand been vetted by liberal or conservative factions within the superclass. As we saw wit the Bush administration, a president can abuse the system just as much as a secretary defense or NSA director.
Then there's additional evidence of all kinds of illegal projects going on to keep the superclass in line. We're not just talking about the numerous illegal NSA spy programs brought to light by William Binney and Edward Snowden, but more, for example, about something like the 1980 Colonel Edward Cutolo affidavit, in which he talks about the notorious Ted Shackley CIA group, working in conjunction with army special operations, illegally monitoring government officials and members of groups as Bilderberg and Trilateral Commission.  There appears to be a scary unacknowledged world out there.
To begin this new effort of looking into of the type of programs going on within the official bureaucracy of the military and its private contractors, let's take a look at the official classification system of the United States.
In the U.S. there are only three basic types of classification: Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret. That's it. But this doesn't matter, as the true power of the classification system is the famous "need to know" policy. Just because someone has a Top Secret clearance doesn't mean this person can gain access to all the different Top Secret documents of the intelligence agencies. Examples of all these different agencies would be the FBI, CIA, DIA, NSA, ONI, NRO, INSCOM, and AFOSI.
However, this three-tiered classification system is not enough to protect some of the more sensitive information. Therefore additional levels of compartmentalization have been created. After a very intensive background check, someone with a Top Secret clearance might obtain an additional Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) clearance, under which information is buried that needs to be restricted to even fewer individuals. This TS-SCI clearance has been introduced mainly to stop high ranking officers from looking into Top Secret files they don't have any business with.
But even the TS-SCI clearance doesn't provide the secrecy needed for some of the most sensitive projects. This is the reason why Special Access Programs (SAP) have been invented. In these cases only a predetermined group of authorized personnel have access to the project and additional security measures can be taken to keep outsiders away. Different congressional committees are informed about these SAPs, but very little time is reserved for questions and little to nothing is put on paper. Why? Because congress doesn't have the necessary security for storage of highly sensitive data.
Most SAPs start out as Unacknowledged Special Access Programs (USAP), better known as black projects. The F-117A Nighthawk and the B-2 Spirit are examples of projects that started out as Unacknowledged SAPs. A DOD manual describes a USAP as follows:
"Unacknowledged SAPs require a significantly greater degree of protection than acknowledged SAPs... A SAP with protective controls that ensures the existence of the Program is not acknowledged, affirmed, or made known to any person not authorized for such information. All aspects (e.g., technical, operational, logistical, etc.) are handled in an unacknowledged manner." 
If questioned about a particular USAP, the persons involved are under orders to deny such a program exists. They are not allowed to react with a "no comment", because that would immediately fuel suspicions that something is being hidden and is likely to cause further inquiries. Officers not accessed for a USAP, even superior ones, are to be given the same response. The more sensitive the program, the more protection the commanding officer can demand. He could even subject his personnel to regular lie detector tests to see whether or not a person has compromised the project. According to a 1997 Senate investigation:
"Additional security requirements to protect these special access programs can range from mere upgrades of the collateral system’s requirements (such as rosters specifying who is to have access to the information) to entire facilities being equipped with added physical security measures or elaborate and expensive cover, concealment, deception, and operational security plans." 
There are two versions of the Unacknowledged Special Access Programs. The first one is the regular USAP. These regular USAPs are reported in the same manner as their acknowledged versions. In closed sessions, the House National Security Committee, the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the defense subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations committees can receive certain basic information about them. The secretary of defense, however, can decide to 'waive' particularly sensitive USAPs. These are unofficially referred to as deep black programs. According to Jane's in January 2000:
"Among black programs, further distinction is made for "waived" programs, considered to be so sensitive that they are exempt from standard reporting requirements to the Congress. The chairperson, ranking member, and, on occasion, other members and staff of relevant Congressional committees are notified only orally of the existence of these programs." 
This leads to the conclusion that only very few people are aware of these waived Unacknowledged Special Access Programs. Congress certainly doesn't get the information it needs to speak out against newly established waived USAPs and nowhere gets one the impression that their opinion is actually appreciated. You could also ask yourself if Congress is told the truth about many of the most sensitive Special Access Projects or if their successors are informed about previously activated (waived) USAPs. Even with regular SAPs Congress is ignored at times. Jane's again:
"Last summer, the House Defense Appropriations Committee complained that "the air force acquisition community continues to ignore and violate a wide range of appropriations practices and acquisition rules". One of the alleged infractions was the launch of an SAP without Congressional notification." 
Without being able to find any official sources, in addition there exists online speculation about Unacknowledged Special Access Projects being hidden in private corporations and/or behind seemingly legitimate deep black programs. So basically you're looking at USAPs within SAPs or USAPs. Or, alternately, one or more USAP subprojects with an existing SAP or USAP. If the secretary of defense or other covert operations are really worried about members of congress or other branches or groups within government of figuring out or exposing their program, it makes sense that they would start working this way. However, there exists no evidence for these programs. Then again, that's exactly the idea.
Below a chart can be found of all secrecy levels described in this article:
|Additional levels of Compartmentalization||
A USAP hidden behind another SAP or USAP, combined with the protection the private industry enjoys.
Existence is unconfirmed, but entirely possible. Would be illegal, because all checks and balances are gone. Of course, if the argument is that senior government posts might be infiltrated by the Russians, Chinese or other foreign power, probably anything is allowed.
Waived Unacknowledged Special Access Programs / deep black programs
Existence only orally mentioned to a few key congressional members. Besides "need to know" it appears that it depends on the personal relationship between government officials and business leaders to what extent they are told about these programs - including the president.
Unacknowledged Special Access Programs / black programs
Congressional committees should still be notified on paper, but violations have been reported.
|(Acknowledged) Special Access Programs|
Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS-SCI)
|Basic secrecy levels||Top Secret||NATO Cosmic Top Secret|
|Public or semi-public||For Official Use Only||NATO Restricted|
A good start to get a sense if the U.S. government is properly managing its SAPs, USAPs, waived USAPs and maybe even its USAPs within USAPs, would be to take a look at its bookkeeping. As it turns out, especially for the Pentagon this is the biggest disaster ever. From 1998 to 2002 each year between $1 trillion and $3.4 trillion was reported unaccounted for. An oversight has been created below. Click on the source to read the original news report.
|1998||$3.4 trillion||Washington Times|
|2000||$1.1 trillion||GAO of Congress / Insight Magazine|
|2001||$2.3 trillion||CBS quoting Rumsfeld|
|2002||$1+ trillion||San Francisco Chronicle; CBS|
Yes, we're really talking trillions - not billions. In 2001 Insight Magazine put these numbers best in perspective when it wrote.
|"Consider that if Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush team at the Pentagon had that $1.1 trillion today, it could buy 244 Nimitz-class aircraft carriers at a cost of $4.5 billion each, 19,298 F/A18-E/F Super Hornet Fighters at a cost of $57 million each or 343,750 Bradley fighting vehicles at a total cost of $3.2 billion. Furthermore, using a reasonable estimate of $3 billion, the $1.1 trillion that is unaccounted for could pay for the construction of 367 brand-new Pentagon buildings, or seven Pentagons per state." |
On average the Pentagon couldn't account for about 25% of its annual budget. This is a problem that has existed for decades. Remember that in 1985 the President's Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management, better known as the Packard Commission, was set up after the Pentagon was found to have paid $435 for a hammer, $600 for a toilet seat and $7,000 for a coffee pot. Already in that period, billions were getting lost in the Pentagon bureaucracy. 
Beginning in 1996, the first year the Pentagon was forced to audit its books, renewed criticism on DOD spending began to arise. This only increased when the War on Terror began, Afghanistan and Iraq were invaded, and the Pentagon received major budget increases despite continuing to report these scandalous trillion dollar gaps in its books.
Part of the pressure also came from the new online conspiracy community. Guests of the scammy million dollar radio show Coast to Coast AM network of national security scrolls had also picked up on these deficits, (falsely) claiming that hundreds of billions of missing dollars most likely were diverted to secret space programs. We're talking about unfortunate individuals as Steven Greer, Catherine Austin Fitts, Michael Salla, Richard Dolan and others. Starting around 2005, the 9/11 "Truth" community falsely began to claim that the Pentagon impact was carried out to hide the Department of Defense's financial misconduct. Catherine Austin Fitts, as a director of the secretive 911truth.org umbrella group may well have played a key role in the surfacing of this theory, which doesn't hold water at all. Why? Because only the offices of the Naval Operations Center and accounting/budget offices of the National Guard and Army Reserve were destroyed. That's only a small part of the entire Pentagon budget. Also, the problem has existed before and since 9/11. In March 2005 congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, a favorite among 9/11 "truthers", famously confronted Donald Rumsfeld and new Pentagon comptroller Tina Jona about these deficits. 
McKinney's fringe congressional ally, the chemtrail-promoting Dennis Kucinich, another huge favorite of the Alex Jones and 9/11 "Truth" crowd, also criticized the trillion dollar gaps, explaining to "liberal CIA" outfit National Public Radio:
|"As the ranking Democrat on a subcommittee which has jurisdiction over national defense, an oversight subcommittee, I know the kind of waste that goes on in the military. I know, for example, that the Department of Defense cannot reconcile $1 trillion in accounts. I know that they can't keep track of the cost of various contracts that go to the private sector." |
President Bush, secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld and Pentagon comptroller Dov Zakheim all promised to integrate the apparently hundreds of different budgetary systems within the Pentagon.  But right from the beginning left-wing media outlets as The Guardian voiced suspicions that these individuals had no interest in fixing the budgetary problems, because private sector contractors as Lockheed, Northrop and General Dynamics these men and other government officials were linked to represent an important aspect of the problem.  Certainly in the post-9/11 world these defense contractors have been receiving huge contracts, with the Pentagon somewhat conveniently not properly keeping track how much money they hand out. Dick Cheney's KBR Halliburton is probably the best-known example of all, but literally all defense contractors benefited from the War on Terror. It also seems it doesn't matter how great cost overruns are, with military contractors hardly being penalized. The F-22 and F-35 ultimately cost many times more than originally intended. The same goes for a new $12 billion supercarrier that is of questionable use in the modern world of supersonic, stealthy and nuclear capable anti-carrier missiles as the BrahMos. Even faster hypersonic versions of these missiles are just around the corner.
Since September 11 we have also become aware of unconstitutional and even non-sensical billion dollar contracts the NSA awarded to private corporations as IBM, SAIC, Boeing and CSC for its questionable Trailblazer program, as well as incredible conflicts-of-interests among politicians-turned-businessmen in protecting such programs. Even the NSA leadership has a tendency to be recruited by the very defense contractors they hand their contracts to.  Other major recipients of these NSA contracts include Edward Snowden employers Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton.
Of course, as expected, a full 10 years later new research revealed that the Pentagon accounting problems remained the same, and may even have worsened due to the so-called implemented "improvements" of the Bush administration. Despite that, it seems change is slowly coming since the election of Obama, with pressure from Congress and various defense secretaries mounting. 
It might be important to note that USAPs not always have to involve the development of new cutting edge technology. Seymour Hersh has reported on a USAP that was set up to circumvent national and international humanitarian laws:
"Rice and Rumsfeld know what many others involved in the prisoner discussions did not -- that sometime in late 2001 or early 2002, the President had signed a top-secret finding, as required by law, authorizing the Defense Department to set up a specially recruited clandestine team of Special Forces operatives and others who would defy diplomatic niceties and international law and snatch -- or assassinate, if necessary -- identified 'high-value' Al Qaeda operatives anywhere in the world. Equally secret interrogation centers would be set up in allied countries where harsh treatments were meted out, unconstrained by legal limits of public disclosure. The program was hidden inside the Defense Department as an 'unacknowledged' special-access program, or SAP, whose operational details were known only to a few in the Pentagon, the CIA and the White House." 
Since this 2004 report we've heard a lot of details about the CIA's extraordinary rendition programs to torture terrorist suspects, about the JSOC drones and assassination teams, the direct hands-on involvement of the Bush administration in it, as well as the role Blackwater USA.  It's an interesting additional detail to have that all these programs began as Unacknowledged Special Access Programs.
So, are Unacknowledged Special Access Programs out of control in the United States? Good question. The term "Special Access Program", let alone "Unacknowledged Special Access Program", is only very seldom mentioned in the media. For example, these terms have not been mentioned at all in relation to the NSA spy revelations in recent years of William Binney and Edward Snowden, even though one would expect that many of the NSA spy programs as PRISM, Stellar Wind, Boundless Informant and JTRIG fell into this category. The term "Special Access Program" did recently surface with regard to the Hillary Clinton email scandals. As Obama's secretary of state, Clinton, against protocol, apparently maintained a private mailbox full of information on all kinds of Special Access Programs. No details on these programs have been provided.
Up until the Clinton email affair in 2015, it appears that the U.S. government has been quite capable of shielding the whole concept of Special Access Programs from the public. The mainstream media have never been too particularly interested in delving into the subject matter, most likely for fear of being perceived as "anti-patriotic", while the fringe network of Coast to Coast AM guests have been clogging up the internet with largely bogus information on these programs.
In other words, nothing much can be concluded about these programs. Do any of the USAPs, especially highly questionable ones, never make it to the public? Possibly, but we just don't know the answer. I'd say, it doesn't even really matter that much at this point. SAPs and USAPs should continue to exist. It's much more important to make sure that the Pentagon is able to properly balance its books, so that the only questions that remain revolve around officially allocated black budgets of the Pentagon and CIA. All this tremendous amount of waste at the Pentagon and the defense contractors it is linked to only weaken the United States. It's pretty dumb to allow it, but then again, the Pentagon is very Republican and very conservative by nature, so it's hard to expect much cooperation from its bureaucracy. What's really needed is strong, honest president, or maybe a secretary of defense.
In other words, we need to stay away from protesting the concept of SAPs and USAPs (they are necessary) and instead focus on grass-roots activism on JFK, the USS Liberty, Gladio terrorism, CIA drug trafficking, 9/11, NGOs, elites and the promotion of honest politics. It actually appears that Congress and various defense secretaries in recent times are pressing harder to have the Pentagon clean up its act. Then there is the Rockefeller/Soros/Ford-funded ("liberal CIA") new left media and its associated whistleblowers that seems to keep an eye on some of the most dangerous excesses of the national security system. We, the people, at this point have other things to focus on than USAPs and Pentagon budgets.
|||April 1, 1999, Washington Times, '$3,400,000,000,000 Of Taxpayers' Money Is Missing' [link]|
|||January 5, 2000, Jane's Defense Weekly, 'In Search of the Pentagon's Billion Dollar Hidden Budgets' [link]|
|||November 6, 2000, Insight Magazine, 'Why Is $59 Billion Missing From HUD?' [link]|
|||June 25, 2001, Insight Magazine, 'THE CABINET - Inside HUD's Financial Fiasco' [link]|
|||September 3, 2001, Insight Magazine, 'Rumsfeld Inherits Financial Mess' [link]|
|||September 28, 2001, Insight Magazine, 'Wasted Riches' [link]|
|||January 29, 2002, CBS News, 'The War on Waste - Defense Department Cannot Account For 25% Of Funds — $2.3 Trillion' [link]|
|||April 29, 2002, Insight Magazine, 'Government Fails Fiscal Fitness Test' [link]|
|||May 18, 2003, San Francisco Chronicle, 'Military waste under fire - $1 trillion missing -- Bush plan targets Pentagon accounting' [link]|
|||May 19, 2003, CBS, 'Pentagon Fights For (Its) Freedom' [link]|
|||May 22, 2003, The Guardian, 'So much for the peace dividend: Pentagon is winning the battle for a $400bn budget' [link]|
|||June 28, 2003, NPR's Morning Edition, Congressman Dennis Kucinich mentions the missing trillions: "As the ranking Democrat on a subcommittee which has jurisdiction over national defense, an oversight subcommittee, I know the kind of waste that goes on in the military. I know, for example, that the Department of Defense cannot reconcile $1 trillion in accounts. I know that they can't keep track of the cost of various contracts that go to the private sector."|
|||April 6, 2004, USA Today, 'NASA costs can't be verified, GAO report says' [link]|
|||March 2005, Senate Armed Services Committee, FY 2006 Defense Dept. Budget (congresswoman Cynthia McKinney asks some hard questions) [link]|
*) Affidavit of Colonel Edward Cutolo, signed March 11, 1980: "17. Mr. Edwin Wilson explained that it was considered that Operation Watch Tower might be compromised and become known if politicians, judicial figures, police and religious entities were approached or received word that U.S. Troops had aided in delivering narcotics from Columbia into Panama. Based on that possibility, intense surveillance was undertaken by my office to ensure if Watch Tower became known of, the U.S. government and the Army would have advance warning and could prepare a defense... 19. The surveillance was unofficially dubbed Operation George Orwell. 20. I instituted surveillance against Ted Kennedy, John Kerry... Surveillance at my orders was instituted at the Governors' residences of Massachusetts, Maine, New York, and New Hampshire. The Catholic cathedrals of New York and Boston were placed under electronic surveillance also. In the area of Ft. Devens, all local police and politicians were under some sort of surveillance at various times... 74. I was notified by Edwin Wilson that the information forwarded to Wash. D.C., was disseminated to private corporations who were developing weapons for the Dept. of Defense. Those private corporations were encouraged to use the sensitive information gathered from surveillance on U.S. Senators and Representatives as leverage to manipulate those Congressmen into approving whatever costs the weapons systems incurred... 77. As of the date of this affidavit, 8,400 police departments, 1,370 churches, and approx. 17,900 citizens have been monitored under Operation Orwell. The major churches targeted have been Catholic and Latter Day Saints. I have stored certain information gathered by Operation Orwell on Ft. Devens, and pursuant to instructions from Edwin Wilson have forwarded additional information gathered to Wash. D.C. 78.... Certain information was collected on suspected members of the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg group. Among those that information was collected on were Gerald Ford and President Jimmy Carter. Edwin Wilson indicated that additional surveillance was implemented against former CIA director George Bush, who Wilson named as a member of the Trilateral Commission."
*) Cutolo was among a small group of special forces officers that questioned the legality of CIA-sanctioned drug trafficking operations from Colombia to Noriega's Panama, from where they were allegedly shipped to the US mafia. Cutolo and several of his Delta Force associates were arranging the navigation and security of these operations, overseen by Ed Wilson (probably as part of Task Force 157), his superior Thomas Clines, and Mossad agents David Kimche (later Israel CFR founder and president) and Micha Hariri. Clines, in turn, was a deputy to Ted Shackley, head of the Secret Team and a highest level player in the CIA drug trade. Cutolo died in a car crash in England in May 1980. Col. Robert Bayard had been killed in Georgia in 1977 and Cutolo claimed he had been assassinated by the Israelis. Col. A.J. Bo Baker (the best friend of Col. Bo Gritz in Delta Force) died in Germany on March 24, 1980, just after allegedly having received the original copy of Cutolo's affidavit. Col. Nick Rowe (American Security Council) was killed in the Philippines in April 1989, just after having planned to go public with the affidavit in the aftermath of Iran Contra. Hugh Pearce, who received a copy of Cutolo's affidavit and was planning to go public, died in a helicopter crash in June 1989. Congressman Larkin Smith, who received a copy of Cutolo's affidavit and had been planning to meet Rowe and Pearce, died in a plane crash in August 1989. Paul Neri, who also had a copy of the affidavit, was killed in April 1990. After Neri's death, one of his anonymous friends send Cutolo's affidavit to persons who made it more widely known. Bo Gritz also exposed the story of these men in his 1991 book 'Called to Serve'. Senior Mossad officers David Kimche and Micha Hariri are blamed for the assassinations. They were deeply involved in the South American drug trade and gave technology to certain dictators the US didn't want to deal with directly. Among them was Noriega who received top secret NSA listening equipment.
dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/522022msup1_0295/cp3.pdf (accessed: May 28, 2005) (Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC), 'National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual Supplement' (part of a (badly) scanned DOD manual)): "5220.22-M-SUP-1 ... g. Procedures for unacknowledged SAP security. An unacknowledged SAP will require additional security training and briefings, beyond that required in the baseline. Additional requirements will be specified in the Contract Security Classification Specification and will address steps necessary to protect sensitive relationships, locations, and activities. ... 3102. Unacknowledged Special Access Programs (SAP). Unacknowledged SAPs require a significantly greater degree of protection than acknowledged SAPs. Special emphasis should be placed on: a. why the SAP is unacknowledged; b. Classification of the SAP; c. Approved communications system; d. Approved transmission systems; e. Visit procedures; f. Specific program guidance. ... Unacknowledged Special Access Program. A SAP with protective controls that ensures the existence of the Program is not acknowledged, affirmed, or made known to any person not authorized for such information. All aspects (e.g., technical, operational, logistical, etc.) are handled in an unacknowledged manner."
1997, Senate Document 105-2, 'Report of the Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy' [link]
January 5, 2000, Jane's Defense Weekly, 'In Search of the Pentagon's Billion Dollar Hidden Budgets' [link]
September 28, 2001, Insight Magazine, 'Wasted Riches' [link]
|||1990, David S. Meyer, 'A Winter of Discontent: The Nuclear Freeze and American Politics', p. 57: "Mini-scandals broke out when it was revealed that the Pentagon had paid $600 for a toilet seat, $400 for a hammer, and $7,000 for a coffee pot designed to continue operating even if the plane that carried it was destroyed. ... Even while in office, Stockman noted that there was "a swamp of $10 to $20 to $30 billion worth of waste" in the military budget."|
|||March 2005, Senate Armed Services Committee, FY 2006 Defense Dept. Budget (congresswoman Cynthia McKinney asks some hard questions) [link]|
|||June 28, 2003, NPR's Morning Edition, Congressman Dennis Kucinich interview.|
|||*) January 29, 2002, CBS News, 'The War on Waste - Defense Department Cannot Account For 25% Of Funds — $2.3 Trillion' [link]: "On Sept. 10, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declared war. Not on foreign terrorists, "the adversary's closer to home. It's the Pentagon bureaucracy," he said. He said money wasted by the military poses a serious threat. "In fact, it could be said it's a matter of life and death," he said. Rumsfeld promised change but the next day – Sept. 11-- the world changed and in the rush to fund the war on terrorism, the war on waste seems to have been forgotten."
*) February 20, 2002, Armed Forces Press Service, 'Zakheim Seeks to Corral, Reconcile 'Lost' Spending': "That money didn't fall down a hole, but is simply waiting to be accounted for, Zakheim said in a Feb. 14 interview with the AMerican Forces Information Service. Complicating matters, he said, is that DoD has 674 different computerized accounting, logistics and personnel systems. Most of the 674 systems "don't talk to one another unless somebody 'translates'," he remarked. ... DoD financial experts, Zakheim said, are making good progress reconciling the department's "lost" expenditures, trimming them from a prior estimated total of #2.3 trillion to $700 billion. And, he added, the amount continues to drop. "We're getting it down and we are redesigning our systems so we'll go down from 600-odd systems to maybe 50," he explained."
*) May 18, 2003, San Francisco Chronicle, 'Military waste under fire - $1 trillion missing -- Bush plan targets Pentagon accounting' [link]
|||May 22, 2003, The Guardian, 'So much for the peace dividend: Pentagon is winning the battle for a $400bn budget' [link]|
||| *) May 23, 2011 issue, The New Yorker, 'The Secret Sharer Is Thomas Drake an enemy of the state?': "Code-named ThinThread, it had been developed by technological wizards in a kind of Skunk Works on the N.S.A. campus. Formally, the project was supervised by the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, or SARC. ... Drake recalled that, after the October 4th  directive, “strange things were happening. Equipment was being moved. People were coming to me and saying, ‘We’re now targeting our own country!’ ” Drake says that N.S.A. officials who helped the agency obtain FISA warrants were suddenly reassigned, a tipoff that the conventional process was being circumvented. He added, “I was concerned that it was illegal, and none of it was necessary.” In his view, domestic data mining “could have been done legally” if the N.S.A. had maintained privacy protections. “But they didn’t want an accountable system.” Aid, the author of the N.S.A. history, suggests that ThinThread’s privacy protections interfered with top officials’ secret objective—to pick American targets by name. “They wanted selection, not just collection,” he says. ... Meanwhile, there was nothing to show for Trailblazer, other than mounting bills. As the system stalled at the level of schematic drawings, top executives kept shuttling between jobs at the agency and jobs with the high-paying contractors. For a time, both Hayden’s deputy director and his chief of signals-intelligence programs worked at SAIC, a company that won several hundred million dollars in Trailblazer contracts. In 2006, Trailblazer was abandoned as a $1.2-billion flop. ... Maureen Baginski, the chief of the Signals Intelligence Directorate at the N.S.A., and the agency’s third-highest-ranking official. ... Baginski, who now works for a private defense contractor, recalls her interactions with Drake differently, but she declined to comment specifically."
*) May 12 2015, The Intercept, 'Many of the NSA’s Loudest Defenders Have Financial Ties to NSA Contractors': "The debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance. The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest. Such conflicts have become particularly important, and worth pointing out, now that the debate about NSA surveillance has shifted from simple outrage to politically prominent legislative debates. As one example of the opaque link between NSA money and punditry, take the words of Stewart Baker, who was general counsel to the NSA from 1992 through 1994. During a Senate committee hearing last summer on one of the reform bills now before Congress, the USA FREEDOM Act, which would partially limit mass surveillance of telephone metadata, Baker essentially said the bill would aid terrorists. “First, I do not believe we should end the bulk collection program,” he told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “It will put us at risk. It will, as Senator King strongly suggested, slow our responses to serious terrorist incidents. And it is a leap into the dark with respect to this data.” Previously, in December 2013, Baker wrote in The New York Times that “Snowden has already lost the broader debate he claims to want, and the leaks are slowly losing their international impact as well.” He made similar comments in multiple news outlets, and testified before Congress to defend virtually every program revealed by the Snowden documents. Baker at one point told intelligence committee lawmakers that The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald was simply on a campaign to “cause the greatest possible diplomatic damage to the United States and its intelligence capabilities.” Baker has identified himself at various points as a former government official with the NSA and Department of Homeland Security and as a Washington, D.C. attorney. But the law firm at which Baker is a partner, Steptoe & Johnson, maintains a distinct role in the world of NSA contracting. At the time of his pro-NSA advocacy in 2013 and 2014, the company was registered to lobby on behalf of companies which have served as major NSA contractors, including Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Leidos and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). ...
In June of 2013, following the first Snowden disclosures, retired General Wesley Clark and former Central Intelligence Agency Chief James Woolsey cast aspersions on the whistleblower who brought the NSA’s privacy violations to light. “The American people,” Clark said confidently during an interview on CNN, “are solidly behind the PRISM program and all that’s going on.” Appearing on Fox News, Woolsey referred to Snowden’s disclosure of documents as “damaging because it gives terrorists an idea of how we collect and what we might know.” Woolsey would later comment that Snowden “should be hanged by his neck” if convicted for treason. The men are, and were at the time, advisors to Paladin Capital Group, an investment advisor and private equity firm whose Homeland Security Fund was set up about three months after the September 11 attacks to focus on defense and intelligence-related startups. Woolsey confirmed he is paid by Paladin Capital; Clark did not respond to a request for comment. In 2014, Paladin’s portfolio was valued at more than $587 million. [goes to detail several NSA-tied companies in which Paladin held/holds a stake.] ...
In March 2014, former Republican National Committee Chair Jim Gilmore took to the pages of the Washington Times to write that, “Mr. Snowden’s traitorous act is a perfect example of the dual threat we face from state and non-state actors.” He also promoted his view that conservatives should not embrace Snowden’s disclosures about mass surveillance during a testy debate with libertarians at the Conservative Political Action Conference last year. At CPAC, Gilmore touted his credentials on the issue of homeland security as “the governor of Virginia during the 9/11 attack” and chairman of an advisory board on homeland security issues. But since 2009, Gilmore has also worked for a major NSA contractor as member of the board of CACI International, for which he has been compensated with more than $1 million in cash and stock awards. CACI, the firm whose contractors were behind the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, has steadily increased its stake in the cyberintelligence business, acquiring the firm Six3 Systems, an NSA contractor, for $820 million two years ago. In an email to The Intercept, Gilmore acknowledged his relationship with CACI and noted that he served on advisory committee for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), an NSA contractor. “I cannot confirm whether any [of] these companies contracted with NSA,” he wrote. “I do not feel I have a conflict of interest..." ...
Establishment think tanks, such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies, have also influenced the debate around NSA surveillance. CSIS put out a report defending surveillance programs along with a statement of principles calling for policymakers to recognize and maintain the “irreplaceable role” of American intelligence. was released last May by a group of former government officials, including CSIS president John Hamre. The year the report came out, Hamre received close to a quarter of a million dollars as a board member to NSA contractor Leidos, as he had the year prior. In 2013 and again in 2012, Hamre took close to quarter of a million dollars as a board member at SAIC, which has served as a major NSA contractor and which split to form Leidos. (Hamre did not respond to a request for comment.) Also responsible for the report was former NSA director Mike McConnell — only identified by “Former Director of National Intelligence” rather than as vice chairman of NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, his role at the time."
|||November 14, 2013, Reuters, 'Special Report: The Pentagon's doctored ledgers conceal epic waste': "$8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China's economic output last year. Congress in 2009 passed a law requiring that the Defense Department be audit-ready by 2017. Then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in 2011 tightened the screws when ordered that the department make a key part of its books audit-ready in 2014. Reuters has found that the Pentagon probably won't meet its deadlines. The main reason is rooted in the Pentagon's continuing reliance on a tangle of thousands of disparate, obsolete, largely incompatible accounting and business management systems. Many of these systems were built in the 1970s... The Pentagon has spent tens of billions of dollars to upgrade to new, more efficient technology in order to become audit-ready. But many of these new systems have failed, either unable to perform all the jobs they were meant to do or scrapped altogether - only adding to the waste they were meant to stop."|
|||2004, Seymour M. Hersh, 'Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib', p 16.|
|||November 23, 2009, The Nation, 'The Secret US War in Pakistan': "At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus. The source, who has worked on covert US military programs for years, including in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has direct knowledge of Blackwater's involvement. He spoke to The Nation on condition of anonymity because the program is classified. The source said that the program is so "compartmentalized" that senior figures within the Obama administration and the US military chain of command may not be aware of its existence. The White House did not return calls or email messages seeking comment for this story. ... A defense official, on background, specifically denied that Blackwater performs work on drone strikes or intelligence for JSOC in Pakistan. "We don't have any contracts to do that work for us. We don't contract that kind of work out, period," the official said. "There has not been, and is not now, contracts between JSOC and that organization for these types of services." Blackwater's founder Erik Prince contradicted this statement in a recent interview, telling Vanity Fair that Blackwater works with US Special Forces in identifying targets and planning missions, citing an operation in Syria. The magazine also published a photo of a Blackwater base near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. ... The previously unreported program, the military intelligence source said, is distinct from the CIA assassination program that the agency's director, Leon Panetta, announced he had canceled in June 2009. "This is a parallel operation to the CIA," said the source. "They are two separate beasts." The program puts Blackwater at the epicenter of a US military operation within the borders of a nation against which the United States has not declared war... A former senior executive at Blackwater confirmed the military intelligence source's claim that the company is working in Pakistan for the CIA and JSOC, the premier counterterrorism and covert operations force within the military. He said that Blackwater is also working for the Pakistani government on a subcontract with an Islamabad-based security firm that puts US Blackwater operatives on the ground with Pakistani forces in counter-terrorism operations, including house raids and border interdictions, in the North-West Frontier Province and elsewhere in Pakistan. ... "It wouldn't surprise me because we've outsourced nearly everything," said Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff from 2002 to 2005, when told of Blackwater's role in Pakistan. Wilkerson said that during his time in the Bush administration, he saw the beginnings of Blackwater's involvement with the sensitive operations of the military and CIA. "Part of this, of course, is an attempt to get around the constraints the Congress has placed on DoD. If you don't have sufficient soldiers to do it, you hire civilians to do it. ... The covert JSOC program with Blackwater in Pakistan dates back to at least 2007, according to the military intelligence source. The current head of JSOC is Vice Adm. William McRaven, who took over the post from Gen. Stanley McChrystal [very close to Rumsfeld and Cheney at the time], who headed JSOC from 2003 to 2008 before being named the top US commander in Afghanistan. ... Blackwater's work for JSOC in Karachi is coordinated out of a Task Force based at Bagram Air Base in neighboring Afghanistan, according to the military intelligence source. While JSOC technically runs the operations in Karachi, he said, it is largely staffed by former US special operations soldiers working for a division of Blackwater, once known as Blackwater SELECT, and intelligence analysts working for a Blackwater affiliate, Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), which is owned by Erik Prince. The military source said that the name Blackwater SELECT may have been changed recently. Total Intelligence, which is run out of an office on the ninth floor of a building in the Ballston area of Arlington, Virginia, is staffed by former analysts and operatives from the CIA, DIA, FBI and other agencies. It is modeled after the CIA's counterterrorism center. ... Until recently, Total Intelligence was run by two former top CIA officials, Cofer Black and Robert Richer, both of whom have left the company. In Pakistan, Blackwater is not using either its original name or its new moniker, Xe Services, according to the former Blackwater executive. "They are running most of their work through TIS because the other two [names] have such a stain on them," he said. The US military intelligence source said that Blackwater's classified contracts keep getting renewed at the request of JSOC. Blackwater, he said, is already so deeply entrenched that it has become a staple of the US military operations in Pakistan. According to the former Blackwater executive, "The politics that go with the brand of BW is somewhat set aside because what you're doing is really one military guy to another." Blackwater's first known contract with the CIA for operations in Afghanistan was awarded in 2002 and was for work along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. One of the concerns raised by the military intelligence source is that some Blackwater personnel are being given rolling security clearances above their approved clearances. Using Alternative Compartmentalized Control Measures (ACCMs), he said, the Blackwater personnel are granted clearance to a Special Access Program, the bureaucratic term used to describe highly classified "black" operations. ... In addition to planning drone strikes and operations against suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Pakistan for both JSOC and the CIA, the Blackwater team in Karachi also helps plan missions for JSOC inside Uzbekistan against the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, according to the military intelligence source. Blackwater does not actually carry out the operations, he said, which are executed on the ground by JSOC forces. "That piqued my curiosity and really worries me because I don't know if you noticed but I was never told we are at war with Uzbekistan," he said. Blackwater, according to the military intelligence source, is not doing the actual killing as part of its work in Pakistan. "The SELECT personnel are not going into places with private aircraft and going after targets," he said. "It's not like Blackwater SELECT people are running around assassinating people." Instead, US Special Forces teams carry out the plans developed in part by Blackwater. ... The former Blackwater executive, when asked for confirmation that Blackwater forces were not actively killing people in Pakistan, said, "that's not entirely accurate." While he concurred with the military intelligence source's description of the JSOC and CIA programs, he pointed to another role Blackwater is allegedly playing in Pakistan, not for the US government but for Islamabad. According to the executive, Blackwater works on a subcontract for Kestral Logistics, a powerful Pakistani firm, which specializes in military logistical support, private security and intelligence consulting. It is staffed with former high-ranking Pakistani army and government officials. While Kestral's main offices are in Pakistan, it also has branches in several other countries. ... For years, Kestral has done a robust business in defense logistics with the Pakistani government and other nations, as well as top US defense companies. Blackwater owner Erik Prince is close with Kestral CEO Liaquat Ali Baig, according to the former Blackwater executive. "Ali and Erik have a pretty close relationship," he said. "They've met many times and struck a deal, and they [offer] mutual support for one another." Working with Kestral, he said, Blackwater has provided convoy security for Defense Department shipments destined for Afghanistan that would arrive in the port at Karachi. Blackwater, according to the former executive, would guard the supplies as they were transported overland from Karachi to Peshawar and then west through the Torkham border crossing, the most important supply route for the US military in Afghanistan. According to the former executive, Blackwater operatives also integrate with Kestral's forces in sensitive counterterrorism operations in the North-West Frontier Province, where they work in conjunction with the Pakistani Interior Ministry's paramilitary force, known as the Frontier Corps (alternately referred to as "frontier scouts"). The Blackwater personnel are technically advisers, but the former executive said that the line often gets blurred in the field. Blackwater "is providing the actual guidance on how to do [counterterrorism operations] and Kestral's folks are carrying a lot of them out, but they're having the guidance and the overwatch from some BW guys that will actually go out with the teams when they're executing the job," he said. "You can see how that can lead to other things in the border areas." He said that when Blackwater personnel are out with the Pakistani teams, sometimes its men engage in operations against suspected terrorists. ... The military intelligence source confirmed Blackwater works with the Frontier Corps, saying, "There's no real oversight. It's not really on people's radar screen." In October, in response to Pakistani news reports that a Kestral warehouse in Islamabad was being used to store heavy weapons for Blackwater, the US Embassy in Pakistan released a statement denying the weapons were being used by "a private American security contractor." ... The military intelligence source also confirmed that Blackwater continues to work for the CIA on its drone bombing program in Pakistan, as previously reported in the New York Times, but added that Blackwater is working on JSOC's drone bombings as well. "It's Blackwater running the program for both CIA and JSOC," said the source. When civilians are killed, "people go, 'Oh, it's the CIA doing crazy shit again unchecked.' Well, at least 50 percent of the time, that's JSOC..." ... From 2003 to 2008 McChrystal headed JSOC, which is headquartered at Pope Air Force Base and Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where Blackwater's 7,000-acre operating base is also situated. JSOC controls the Army's Delta Force, the Navy's SEAL Team 6, as well as the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and the Air Force's 24th Special Tactics Squadron. JSOC performs strike operations, reconnaissance in denied areas and special intelligence missions. Blackwater, which was founded by former Navy SEALs, employs scores of veteran Special Forces operators--which several former military officials pointed to as the basis for Blackwater's alleged contracts with JSOC. Since 9/11, many top-level Special Forces veterans have taken up employment with private firms, where they can make more money doing the highly specialized work they did in uniform. "The Blackwater individuals have the experience. A lot of these individuals are retired military, and they've been around twenty to thirty years and have experience that the younger Green Beret guys don't," said retired Army Lieut. Col. Jeffrey Addicott, a well-connected military lawyer who served as senior legal counsel for US Army Special Forces. ... "They make much more money being the smarts of these operations, planning hits in various countries and basing it off their experience in Chechnya, Bosnia, Somalia, Ethiopia," said the military intelligence source. "They were there for all of these things, they know what the hell they're talking about. And JSOC has unfortunately lost the institutional capability to plan within, so they hire back people that used to work for them and had already planned and executed these [types of] operations. They hired back people that jumped over to Blackwater SELECT and then pay them exorbitant amounts of money to plan future operations. It's a ridiculous revolving door." While JSOC has long played a central role in US counterterrorism and covert operations, military and civilian officials who worked at the Defense and State Departments during the Bush administration described in interviews with The Nation an extremely cozy relationship that developed between the executive branch (primarily through Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld) and JSOC. During the Bush era, Special Forces turned into a virtual stand-alone operation that acted outside the military chain of command and in direct coordination with the White House. Throughout the Bush years, it was largely General McChrystal who ran JSOC. ... "I think Cheney was actually giving McChrystal instructions, and McChrystal was asking him for instructions." He said the relationship between JSOC and Cheney and Rumsfeld "built up initially because Rumsfeld didn't get the responsiveness. He didn't get the can-do kind of attitude out of the SOCOM commander, and so as Rumsfeld was wont to do, he cut him out and went straight to the horse's mouth. ... Wilkerson said the JSOC teams caused diplomatic problems for the United States across the globe. "When these teams started hitting capital cities and other places all around the world, [Rumsfeld] didn't tell the State Department either. The only way we found out about it is our ambassadors started to call us and say, 'Who the hell are these six-foot-four white males with eighteen-inch biceps walking around our capital cities?' So we discovered this, we discovered one in South America, for example, because he actually murdered a taxi driver, and we had to get him out of there real quick. ... As part of their strategy, Rumsfeld and Cheney also created the Strategic Support Branch (SSB), which pulled intelligence resources from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA for use in sensitive JSOC operations. The SSB was created using "reprogrammed" funds "without explicit congressional authority or appropriation," according to the Washington Post. The SSB operated outside the military chain of command and circumvented the CIA's authority on clandestine operations. Rumsfeld created it as part of his war to end "near total dependence on CIA." Under US law, the Defense Department is required to report all deployment orders to Congress. But guidelines issued in January 2005 by former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone stated that Special Operations forces may "conduct clandestine HUMINT operations...before publication" of a deployment order. This effectively gave Rumsfeld unilateral control over clandestine operations. ... The military intelligence source said that when Rumsfeld was defense secretary, JSOC was deployed to commit some of the "darkest acts" in part to keep them concealed from Congress. "Everything can be justified as a military operation versus a clandestine intelligence performed by the CIA, which has to be informed to Congress," said the source. "They were aware of that and they knew that, and they would exploit it at every turn and they took full advantage of it. They knew they could act extra-legally and nothing would happen because A, it was sanctioned by DoD at the highest levels, and B, who was going to stop them? ... Pakistan's interior minister, Rehman Malik, said on November 21 he will resign if Blackwater is found operating anywhere in Pakistan. ... Reports of Blackwater's alleged presence in Karachi and elsewhere in the country have been floating around the Pakistani press for months. Hamid Mir, a prominent Pakistani journalist who rose to fame after his 1997 interview with Osama bin Laden, claimed in a recent interview that Blackwater is in Karachi. "The US [intelligence] agencies think that a number of Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders are hiding in Karachi and Peshawar," he said. "That is why [Blackwater] agents are operating in these two cities." ... In September, the Pakistani press covered a report on Blackwater allegedly submitted by Pakistan's intelligence agencies to the federal interior ministry. In the report, the intelligence agencies reportedly allege that Blackwater was provided houses by a federal minister who is also helping them clear shipments of weapons and vehicles through Karachi's Port Qasim on the coast of the Arabian Sea. ... The Nation cannot independently confirm these allegations and has not seen the Pakistani intelligence report. But according to Pakistani press coverage, the intelligence report also said Blackwater has acquired "bungalows" in the Defense Housing Authority in the city. According to the DHA website, it is a large residential estate originally established "for the welfare of the serving and retired officers of the Armed Forces of Pakistan." Its motto is: "Home for Defenders." The report alleges Blackwater is receiving help from local government officials in Karachi and is using vehicles with license plates traditionally assigned to members of the national and provincial assemblies, meaning local law enforcement will not stop them."|