Secrecy Costs Continued to Rise in 2009

The financial costs of national security classification-related activities continued to rise in 2009, reaching a record high of $9.93 billion for the combined costs of protecting classified information in government and industry, the Information Security Oversight Office reported today (pdf).

Classification-related costs include not simply the act of classification, but also everything that follows from it:  physical security for classified materials, computer security for classified information systems, personnel security, and so forth. “The agencies also reported a modest, but welcome increase in spending on declassification programs,” wrote ISOO Director William J. Bosanko in his transmittal letter to the President.

The newly reported cost data do not include classification-related costs for CIA or the large Pentagon intelligence agencies — since those costs are themselves considered to be classified.  This means that the costs incurred by the most classification-intensive agencies are outside the scope of the published report, which significantly limits its value.  See “Report on Cost Estimates for Security Classification Activities for Fiscal Year 2009,” Information Security Oversight Office, June 25, 2010.

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