Tuesday, October 30, 2007

2007 U.S. Intelligence Budget = $43.5 Billion

Numerous news outlets are reporting the release, by Congressional mandate, of the current budget for U.S. intelligence agencies, an amount that totals over 43 billion dollars for a single year. (Note: this does not include the budgets for military intelligence, which must be very large in themselves. See below for figures on Defense Department spending.)

BBC News reports:

The 2007 sum, split among 16 agencies, is almost double what was spent in 1997 and 1998, the last budgets made public....

Exactly where the money goes remains classified, but a share will go on salaries for an estimated 100,000 people, among them intelligence analysts and spies, the Associated Press reports.

Also covered will be such expenses as high-tech secret satellite programmes, aircraft, weapons, computers and software....

The budget includes money for the CIA, the Defence Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and FBI intelligence programmes, as well as agencies within the state and treasury departments....

Former CIA director George Tenet released the budget figures for 1997 ($26.6bn) and 1998 ($26.7bn), saying he saw no risk to national security in doing so....

The 2007 figure is greater than the national economies of all but the world's 60 or so richest nations.

One word not used in mainstream press reports to describe the intelligence budget is "obscene". It is also indicative of the size of a mushrooming secret component of government, one that historically has been prone to abuses at home, and criminal activity abroad.

By way of contrast, here are the budgetary amounts allocated to other portions of government in the 2006 fiscal year (from the Washington Post):

Department of Defense -- $419.3 billion; Department of Health and Human Services -- $642 billion; $Department of Education -- $56 billion; Environmental Protection Agency -- $7.6 billion; Department of Housing and Urban Development -- $3.7 billion; and the Department of Justice -- $19.1 billion.

By any account, the amount spent on "national security" is outrageous, and the half a trillion dollars or so (not necessarily counting emergency funds allocated for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars) can be seen as one way of quantifying the price of American Empire.

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