Secrecy News

1970 Intelligence Budget Figure Not a Secret

The State Department said today that it will modify the latest Nixon-era volume of the official Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series to include the amount of the 1970 U.S. intelligence budget after Secrecy News pointed out that this number had previously been disclosed in an earlier volume of FRUS.

According to an editorial note in the latest FRUS volume published last week, “The President [Nixon] stated that the United States is spending a total of about [dollar amount not declassified] per year on intelligence and it deserves to receive a lot more for its money than it has been getting.” (Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume II, document 210).

But in another FRUS volume published last April, that ancient secret was already revealed:

“The President stated that the US is spending $6 billion per year on intelligence and deserves to receive a lot more for its money than it has been getting. (Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume VI, document 344).

“Thank you for pointing out the inconsistency between the editorial note in FRUS volume II and the document in volume VI,” wrote Edward C. Keefer, General Editor of the Foreign Relations of the United States series in an email message to Secrecy News today.

“We have brought it to the attention of the declassifying agency [i.e., CIA] and they have agreed to release the actual figure in the editorial note of volume II, making it consistent with the document in volume VI. We will make the change on the internet version of volume II and we should be able to make the change in printed volume II as well.”

“We are pleased that we have people like you who read our volumes with such care and help us make the series the best documentary record of U.S. foreign policy,” Dr. Keefer wrote.

CIA classification policy generally lacks rhyme or reason, so although the 1970 intelligence budget total has been declassified, the 1969 and the 1971 budget figures, for example, remain classified.

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