ODNI Document Suggests a Larger Intelligence Budget
Classified budget numbers concealed in an unclassified PowerPoint document suggest that total U.S. intelligence spending is significantly larger than generally assumed, perhaps around $60 billion annually.
The briefing document (ppt), prepared by Terri Everett of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), was first obtained by Tim Shorrock of Salon, who wrote a probing account of the growing prominence of contractors in U.S. intelligence agencies, who now consume 70% of the total intelligence community budget. See “The corporate takeover of U.S. intelligence,” Salon, June 1, 2007.
Annual intelligence contract awards were illustrated in a bar chart in Ms. Everett’s briefing document, without dollar figures attached. But by using the edit function in Power Point, it is possible to discern the classified figures that were used to prepare the bar chart.
R.J. Hillhouse, an author and former intelligence officer who writes on intelligence and outsourcing, explained how to retrieve the concealed data in her blog The Spy Who Billed Me. See “Office of Nation’s Top Spy Inadvertently Reveals Key to Classified National Intel Budget,” June 3.
The data appear to indicate that $42 billion was awarded to contractors in FY 2005. If so, and if that represented 70% of the total budget, as stated in the preceding Power Point slide, it would follow that the total is $60 billion, rather than the $45 or $48 billion usually cited.
Intelligence officials were not available to comment on the disclosure, and a certain amount of deliberate obfuscation surrounds the subject such that it is hard to draw a firm numerical conclusion regarding overall spending. The new budget figures on contractor awards do not distinguish, for example, between “national” and military or tactical intelligence, nor is it clear whether they account for supplemental appropriations.
The Everett briefing document, which had been publicly available on the Defense Intelligence Agency web site, was withdrawn yesterday. But a copy has been posted here (see slide 11).
Update: I mistakenly referred to author R.J. Hillhouse as a former intelligence officer; she’s not. But she has provided continuing exploration of this topic on her blog The Spy Who Billed Me. Other interesting follow-up stories that have appeared are “Intel budget numbers revealed on public PowerPoint slide show” by Daniel Friedman, Federal Times, June 7; and “Intel Budget May be Buried in Powerpoint” by Laura Heaton, United Press International, June 6.
The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons, and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987.. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]
On 14 April 2023, the Belarusian Ministry of Defence released a short video of a Su-25 pilot explaining his new role in delivering “special [nuclear] munitions” following his training in Russia. The features seen in the video, as well as several other open-source clues, suggest that Lida Air Base––located only 40 kilometers from the Lithuanian border and the […]
A photo in a Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) student briefing from 2022 shows four people inspecting what appears to be a damaged B61 nuclear bomb.
In early-February 2023, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) had informed Congress that China now has more launchers for Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) than the United States. The report is the latest in a serious of revelations over the past four years about China’s growing nuclear weapons arsenal and the deepening […]