Within a week, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will formally disclose the size of the National Intelligence Program budget for fiscal year 2007, an ODNI spokeswoman said.
The anticipated disclosure marks the culmination of decades of advocacy, debate and litigation.
“The Administration strongly opposes the requirement in the bill to publicly disclose sensitive information about the intelligence budget,” according to a February 28 statement of administration policy (pdf).
But on August 3 President Bush nevertheless signed the final bill, which allows the (next) President to waive the disclosure requirement on national security grounds, if necessary, starting in 2009.
The disclosure requirement states (in section 601 of H.R. 1):
“Not later than 30 days after the end of each fiscal year beginning with fiscal year 2007, the Director of National Intelligence shall disclose to the public the aggregate amount of funds appropriated by Congress for the National Intelligence Program for such fiscal year.”
Since fiscal year 2007 ended on September 30, the legal deadline for budget disclosure is October 30.
Will the DNI comply?
“That’s what the law requires,” said Vanee Vines of the ODNI public affairs office today, “and we’re going to follow the law.”
The aggregate intelligence budget (a broad term which included “tactical” as well as “national” intelligence spending) was first officially disclosed ten years ago, in October 1997, in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Federation of American Scientists. At that time, the (FY 1997) budget figure was $26.6 billion. The last officially authorized disclosure was in March 1998, when the budget was $26.7 billion.