Tuesday, 20 July 2010

WaPo's new investigative report & website: Top Secret America

The Washington Post published a large interactive website today called Top Secret America. This impressive site is a result a two year investigation by more than a dozen journalists at the Post. It details the companies and government agencies currently doing top secret work in the United States.
The Post divided top-secret work into 23 different categories, from border patrol to psychological operations to weapons technology. The Top Secret database was put together by compiling hundreds of thousands of public records of government organizations and private-sector companies. The Post has identified 45 government organizations (e.g. the FBI) engaged in top-secret work and determined that those 45 organizations could be broken down into 1,271 sub-units (e.g. the Terrorist Screening Center of the FBI). There is a catchall category called "unknown” that contains companies doing work for a government organization that could not be determined. At the private-sector level, The Post identified 1,931 companies engaged in top-secret work for the government. Private-sector companies were grouped together and listed by a parent company's name
To tell the story of top secret America, the Post has "created an immersive online reading experience that combines all of the elements of our two-year investigation together into a single frame. Page horizontally through our stories and view photos, video and graphics without leaving the package."

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