I wanted to pass this excellent series from the Washington Post along. http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/ I am hoping our resident military brass (Pat and Mob) can chime in. As a holder of a secret clearance (which lets me look at corporate documents we get through subpeona) I've known how big it is, but never quite like this. I have watched friends go into a Top Secret Compartmentalized job and quietly shuffle out of our friends circle, and even lost touch with a exceptionally good friend due to a NSA job he took, and I surmise that this is at least suggested by the agencies (to help keep information in). Outwardly, I often thought our intelligence gathering too clunky.