The super-secret Joint Special Operations Command first came to most people's attention when its members killed Osama bin Laden. The Washington Post provides new details on the group it calls "America's secret army" and its explosive growth in size and importance since 9/11. For one thing, JSOC has gone from 1,800 troops prior to 2001 to about 25,000 today, with much of its transformation coming under Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It has killed more al-Qaeda leaders and soldiers than CIA operatives, and it has jailed and interrogated 10 times more suspected terrorists than the agency.
“The CIA doesn’t have the size or the authority to do some of the things we can do,” one JSOC operator tells the Post. As one Navy SEAL who belongs to the unit puts it (in a quote that wouldn't be out of place in a Tom Clancy novel): “We’re the dark matter. We’re the force that orders the universe but can’t be seen." The group has its own drones, recon planes, satellites, and cyberwarriors, along with the "rare authority to select individuals for its kill list—and then to kill, rather than capture, them," write Dana Priest and William M. Arkin. Click to read the full article, which comes from a new book (Top Secret America) written by the two reporters. (Read more JSOC stories.)