The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) is among the most highly regarded members of the U.S. Intelligence Community. Not coincidentally, it is also among the most open and accessible.
Thus, the recent 2009 State Department budget justification book projects a 2009 INR budget of $59.8 million for a staff of 313 persons.
This would be unremarkable except for the fact that INR’s budget disclosure policy deviates from the norm of U.S. intelligence classification policy, in which most budget information is automatically classified. Even some intelligence organizations that are smaller and less influential than INR insist on classifying their budgets.
For more than a decade, the Department of Energy Office of Intelligence published its detailed budget each year. But under pressure from CIA (so I was told), DOE began withholding its intelligence budget information in 2004. The last reported figure for DOE intelligence was $39.8 million in FY 2004.
If consistency in classification policy were to prevail throughout the U.S. intelligence community, as the Director of National Intelligence has recommended, then State Department intelligence might be expected to follow DOE intelligence into pointless, unnecessary secrecy.