Proponents of the surveillance system that has arisen in the nine years after the 2001 terrorist attacks say it is needed to ferret out the enemies in our midst. But most Americans likely have no idea how powerful that system, exposed in a series of Washington Post articles, has become. The latest Post piece explores local connections to the vast, technologically sophisticated, domestic-intelligence network, for which the FBI, local police departments, the military, and myriad other agencies collect information about U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not ever been accused of a crime. The web includes “4,058 federal, state, and local organizations, each with its own counterterrorism responsibilities and jurisdictions.” In Denver alone, there are 57 such agencies, 24 of them created since 2001.

Ramon Montijo, a former U.S. Army Special Forces sergeant and Los Angeles police investigator now working as a private consultant, has taught classes on terrorism and Islam to law enforcement officers in “Alabama, Colorado, Vermont, California, Texas, and Missouri,” he says, teaching that “most Muslims” in the United States want to impose Sharia law here. “They want to make this world Islamic. The Islamic flag will fly over the White House—not on my watch!”

The Post also reveals that the FBI is building a database with names and “certain personal information, such as employment history, of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents whom a local police officer or a fellow citizen believed to be acting suspiciously. It is accessible to an increasing number of local law enforcement and military criminal investigators, increasing concerns that it could somehow end up in the public domain.”