by Ron Paul: The
War That’s Not a War
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have often spoken about the excessive size of government, and most
recently how waste and inefficiency needs to be eliminated from
our military budget. Our foreign policy is not only bankrupting
us, but actively creating and antagonizing enemies of the United
States, and compromising our national security. Spending more and
adding more programs and initiatives does not improve things for
us; it makes them much much worse. This applies to more than just
the military budget.
Washington Post ran an extensive report by Dana Priest and
William M. Arkin on the bloated intelligence community. They found
that an estimated 854,000 people hold top-secret security clearances.
Just what are all these people up to? By my calculation this is
about 11,000 intelligence workers per al Qaeda member in Afghanistan.
This also begs the question — if close to 1 million people are authorized
to know top secrets, how closely guarded are these secrets?
They also found
that since the September 11 attacks, some 17 million square feet
of building space has been built or is being built to accommodate
the 250 percent expansion of intelligence organizations. Intelligence
work is now done by some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931
private contracting companies in about 10,000 locations in the United
Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, has asserted
that US intelligence now has the authority to target American citizens
for assassination without charge or trial. How many of these resources
are being devoted to spying on American citizens for nefarious reasons
at home rather than targeting foreign enemies abroad?
It has been
pointed out how much information we had about the impending attacks
on 9/11, but because of layers upon layers of bureaucratic inefficiencies,
our intelligence community was unable to act meaningfully on that
information. Obviously we needed drastic change. But it was pretty
clear that we did not need more bureaucracy, more confusion, more
expenditures and more government.
It is even
claimed by some leaders that the intelligence community has grown
this way by design; that it is advantageous to have more than one
set of eyes looking at the same information. With this logic, is
there any number of intelligence employees at which we achieve diminishing
returns? Can there ever be too many cooks in the kitchen, in their
Are there any
problems at all that the government wouldn’t attempt to solve
by throwing more money at them? Even now, the government is trying
to solve our economic problems related to too much government spending
and debt, with more government spending and debt.
with our intelligence community before 9/11 was not an inability
to collect information. Therefore, the post-September 11 build-up
of the surveillance state does nothing to enhance safety. Instead
what Americans have gotten in return for the billions of tax dollars
spent on security is a surveillance state that reads our e-mails,
wiretaps us without warrants, and strip searches grandmothers at
airports. This is yet another instance in which Americans would
be safer, richer and freer if our government would simply look to
the Constitution and respect the boundaries it has set.
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.