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Case Number 22911: Small Claims Court

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Top Secret America

PBS // 2011 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 10th, 2011

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson is top secret. No, wait, he's Pop Secret!

The Charge

The hidden legacy of 9/11.

The Case

PBS's well-regarded Frontline news-gathering division turns its sights to the not-sensitive-at-all subject of covert operations following the attacks on 9/11. The 55-minute program features Frontline producer Michael Kirk and Washington Post journalist Dana Priest examining the bureaucratic fallout after the terrorist attacks. Even more, the feature delves into the shift in thinking on intelligence gathering in America's halls of spying and how that translated into the full court press of taking the fight to the jihadist douchebags.

To be honest, Top Secret America doesn't adopt my red meat verbiage, opting (wisely, probably) for a more clinical, if not critical, look at how things went down in the White House, at Langley, and on the battlefield. To paint the picture, there are plenty of interviews with the specialists and officials who were present at decision time (e.g., Richard Clarke) and the journalists who covered these clandestine machinations back in the day. Newsworthy elements like the attempted car bomb in NYC are woven through, as well as a black-and-white photos of Donald Rumsfeld with dramatic music playing in the background to heighten the tension or something.

Top Secret America a well-produced, informative documentary that tends towards the finger-pointing. Some of the criticism I am completely down with: the way government bloated with more and more agencies does very little to soothe my federalist nerves. But sinister musical compositions aside, we haven't been hit since 2001…so that's got to be worth something, right?

The DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo, no extras.

The Verdict

A high end production filled with interesting info, Top Secret America is worth a look for anyone with interest in the subject matter. Not Guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: PBS
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• None


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