Bill for intelligence agen­cies comes to $43.5 bil­lion

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Sean Coit

The an­nual bud­get fig­ure for U.S. intelligence pro­grams was re­leased for the first time in al­most a decade on Oct. 30, the re­sult of one of the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Septem­ber 11 com­mis­sion.

Ac­cord­ing to Di­rec­tor of Na­tional Intelligence Michael McCon­nell, the fis­cal 2007 bud­get fig­ure for non­mil­i­tary intelligence pro­grams over the 16 agen­cies he over­sees added up to $43.5 bil­lion. Mil­i­tary intelligence spend­ing re­mains clas­si­fied, as non­mil­i­tary spend­ing had been since 1999, but is widely be­lieved to to­tal roughly $10 bil­lion.

Act­ing in ac­cor­dance with the Im­ple­ment­ing Rec­om­men­da­tions of the 9/11 Com­mis­sion Act of 2007, the Na­tional Intelligence Pro­gram (NIP) bud­get re­sem­bles re­cent out­side es­ti­mates plac­ing the fig­ure be­tween $40 bil­lion and $45 bil­lion.

The last time such in­for­ma­tion was dis­closed pub­licly was in 1998, when for­mer CIA Di­rec­tor Ge­orge Tenet an­nounced that the intelligence bud­get for the fis­cal year was $26.7 bil­lion, just more than the $26.6 bil­lion for 1997. In 1996 and pre­vi­ously, this in­for­ma­tion was clas­si­fied.

“We be­lieve this ac­tion is ap­pro­pri­ate be­cause it does not jeop­ar­dize the abil­ity of our intelligence agen­cies to carry out their mis­sions and serves to in­form the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” Mr. Tenet said in 1997.

Us­ing nearly the same lan­guage as Mr. Tenet a decade ago, Mr. McCon­nell added that “be­yond the dis­clo­sure of a top-line fig­ure, there will be no other dis­clo­sures of cur­rently clas­si­fied bud­get in­for­ma­tion be­cause such dis­clo­sures could harm na­tional se­cu­rity.”

In his state­ment, Mr. McCon­nell said ex­plic­itly that he was pro­vid­ing the in­for­ma­tion to meet the le­gal obli­ga­tions of Sec­tion 601 of the law, which calls for “avail­abil- ity to pub­lic of cer­tain intelligence fund­ing in­for­ma­tion,” an obli­ga­tion he said is met by re­leas­ing the topline bud­get fig­ure.

The law was passed in July by con­vinc­ing votes of 85-8 and 371-40 in the Se­nate and House, re­spec­tively.

The 1997 dis­clo­sure of intelligence fund­ing num­bers was in re­sponse to a Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can Sci­en­tists law­suit seek­ing the in­for­ma­tion un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act. Af­ter re­leas­ing the fig­ure again in 1998, FAS was de­nied in a law­suit seek­ing sim­i­lar dis­clo­sure for 1999.

James Lewis, a se­nior fel­low at the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, said that the in­for­ma­tion doesn’t do much dam­age to U.S. intelligence but, if more de­tails are de­manded, clas­si­fied intelligence ef­forts could be ex­posed.

“The top line doesn’t do much harm, but the fur­ther down you go, the more peo­ple can de­duce from the in­for­ma­tion,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.