Secrecy News

CIA: 50 Year Old Budget Data Would Damage National Security

If a new information security policy emerges, it’s not likely to come from the Central Intelligence Agency, which still adheres to the coldest of cold war secrecy policies.

Due to CIA classification restrictions, a new State Department documentary collection on The Intelligence Community, 1950-1955 suffers from significant, basic omissions.

“Between the fiscal years ended June 30, 1947 and 1955 the total budget has increased from approximately [dollar figures not declassified],” the official history states (in document 192, the Doolittle report).

Similarly, “The number of civilian employees of the Agency under personnel ceilings has increased from [number not declassified] at June 30, 1947, to an estimated [number not declassified] for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1955.”

Thus, the official government history of U.S. intelligence from 1950-1955 does not include either the budget or the size of the CIA. Instead, this half-century old information remains classified, which indicates that CIA thinks its disclosure would damage national security.

That, of course, is too silly to require refutation. All it means is that CIA’s views on classification policy can safely be ignored by anyone who is not legally obliged to comply with them.

Fortunately, a good deal of the historical CIA budget information that was withheld from the State Department volume can be found in David M. Barrett’s book “The CIA and Congress” (University Press of Kansas, 2005) at pages 154-156.

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Secrecy News was too hasty in writing the December 20 headline that “Foreign Relations in the U.S. [was] Not Published in 2007.” That turned out to be wrong.

On December 21, 2007 the State Department published two print volumes of the Foreign Relations of the United States series, along with an electronic document collection.

In addition to the Intelligence Community volume, the State Historian’s Office released a FRUS volume on “Greece, Cyprus, Turkey 1973-1976,” and an online collection of documents on South Asia, 1973-1976.

It is possible to detect signs of haste in the new publications as well. For example, the South Asia online collection includes two documents (Chapter 3, documents 56 and 61) dated April 27, 1973 and August 1, 1973 that are attributed to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. But Kissinger did not assume the role of Secretary of State until September 22, 1973 [now corrected (12/28/07)].

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