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Busting the welfare queens at the Pentagon

A most peculiar thing happened last week: The Washington Post ripped a federal welfare boondoggle to Topsecret shreds, exposing tens of billions of dollars of waste, duplication and bureaucratic excess . . . and conservatives didn't erupt in astonishment and praise. In fact, they didn't raise a peep.

That's because the welfare queens ripping off taxpayer dollars in this case aren't poverty pimps waving the bloody flag of race and class, but military-industrial hustlers exploiting the war on terrorism to build themselves opulent and powerful fiefdoms.

At a time when newspapers are shrinking, not many ran The Post's 16,000-word Top Secret America series, a rough map of the murky yet vast labyrinth of intelligence and defense agencies that securitycrats have burrowed into the federal budget since Sept. 11.

But if you care at all about either the wholesale waste of federal dollars or the real capabilities of the U.S. government to detect and prevent terrorist attacks, The Post series is worth tracking down on the Internet.

If anything, its conclusion -- that we've created a surveillance-industrial complex ``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 or exactly how many agencies do the same work'' -- is modestly understated. Read my full op-ed piece on national-security welfare in Tuesday's Miami Herald.

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