Map of the Day: The Geography of Secrecy

By Patrick Ottenhoff

The Washington Post has a fascinating series up today called "Top Secret America" about the 3,202 government organizations and private companies "that work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations nationwide."

One of the more interesting aspects of the series is the interactive map detailing programs per state, region, or town. I crunched the numbers on government programs per capita, and the top five states are:

1. District of Columbia: 17,637 people per "top secret" program

2. Virginia: 31,280

3. Hawaii: 31,590

4. Alaska: 33,261

5. Maryland 42,218

Outside of the Beltway and our two "outpost states," the government programs tend to be more evenly distributed.

Private companies, however, are bunched around major defense and intelligence installations, including Tampa (CENTCOM), Quantico (the "Crossroads of the Marine Corps"), Hampton Roads (Navy's Atlantic fleet), Colorado Springs (NORAD), San Antonio (huge Army and Air Force bases), and SoCal (many defense institutions, including Edwards AFB), Cambridge (MIT), and Omaha (STRATCOM).

Unfortunately, the Post map does have some glitches (it's not possible to click on a circle that is shadowed by another one), but for the most part, it's a great resource that might shed some light on what they call the "fourth branch of government."

In the maps below, the red dots denote government work locations while the blue ones denote private company work locations.

Top Secret America in DC Area

Top Secret America Government Work Locations

Top Secret America Company Work Locations

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/07/map-of-the-day-the-geography-of-secrecy/60017/