Surveillance Class (Noun): A set, collection, group, or configuration containing members regarded as having certain attributes in common such as holding secret or top secret security clearance(s) as authorized under Executive Order 13526, who participate in the monitoring of the behavior, activities, or other changing information, usually of people for the purpose of influencing, managing, directing, or protecting. Surveillance can be the observation of individuals or groups by government organizations.
* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.
* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space.
* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.
* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year – a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.
“Surveillance Class” was first used as defined above in reference to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 by Stephen Benavides on June 17, 2013.