from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2004, Issue No. 87
October 5, 2004


In a notable departure from established practice, the U.S. Senate endorsed disclosure of the national intelligence budget total and rejected an attempt to preserve absolute budget secrecy.

As part of the pending intelligence reform bill, the Senate voted 55-37 to require annual disclosure of the total budget request, the total amount authorized and the total amount appropriated for national intelligence (not purely military or tactical intelligence) beginning in fiscal year 2006, when intelligence funds will be directly appropriated to the new National Intelligence Director.

Opponents said the move would mean nothing less than the destruction of U.S. intelligence.

"I have drawn the conclusion that basically this destroys the [intelligence] network," said Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont). "And we wonder why we do not have human resources on the ground in some areas in the world and, yes, even in our own country. I will tell you, if this [budget information] is disclosed, this will be one of the main reasons that we will have."

That is incorrect, supporters said.

"The idea that our enemies can somehow determine something about our intelligence capability by knowing the total of what we spend is simply not accurate," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). "Year-to-year changes in any specific program will not move the overall total number enough to give an adversary any indication of how that money is being spent."

Significantly, the budget disclosure proposal was supported by 18 Republicans. The last time the matter came to a vote in the Senate (June 19, 1997), it won only one Republican vote, from former intelligence committee chairman Sen. Arlen Specter.

See the October 4 Senate debate and vote on intelligence budget disclosure here:

While a Senate majority has now endorsed regular annual budget disclosure, the CIA and the Justice Department Office of Information and Privacy continue to hold the strange view that even 50 year old intelligence budget figures must not be released.


The 9/11 Commission unanimously recommended that intelligence budget secrecy should be reduced and that individual intelligence agency budget totals should be disclosed annually.

But the Department of Energy has decided to do exactly the opposite of what the Commission recommended.

Up to now, the DOE Office of Intelligence has been one of the 15 members of the U.S. intelligence community whose budget is unclassified. (The State Department's Intelligence and Research Bureau is another.)

No longer. Instead of serving as an example for other agencies, DOE has decided to classify its intelligence budget, as if the 9/11 Commission had never existed. For the first time in decades, DOE is withholding all substantive information about its intelligence program. More than that, DOE is attempting (improperly) to retroactively classify budget information that it has previously declassified and published.

Why? "The word came down from [Deputy Director of Intelligence] McLaughlin that all budget information was to be treated as classified," according to one official.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, DOE released a heavily redacted version of its 2005 intelligence budget request. That document, as well the last several years of uncensored DOE intelligence budget requests, may be found here:


A four-volume account of the history and evolution of U.S. counterintelligence that was prepared for the now-defunct National Counterintelligence Center (NACIC) is now available in the public domain.

The encyclopedic 1500 page work begins with an account of counterintelligence (CI) from the American Revolution to World War II (volume 1), proceeds with a study of CI in World War II (volume 2), continues with a survey of the post-WWII atom bomb spies up to the latest espionage cases (volume 3), and concludes with a look at current counterintelligence challenges from China, Russia and elsewhere (volume 4).

The study, prepared over several years by multiple authors, deals in part with well-trodden ground such as the Venona intercepts. But it also includes extended treatments of much more obscure topics, such as counterintelligence in the Civil War, and official accounts of numerous individual espionage cases that never made headlines, as well as a U.S. government perspective on "counterintelligence in the turbulent 1960s and 1970s."

For its own peculiar reasons, the Central Intelligence Agency refused to provide a copy of the document under the Freedom of Information Act. But NACIC's successor, the National Counterintelligence Executive, agreed to release it.

See all four volumes of "A Counterintelligence Reader" edited by Frank J. Rafalko here:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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