from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2005, Issue No. 107
November 17, 2005


The public disclosure of the total intelligence budget figure by Deputy Director of National Intelligence Mary Margaret Graham at a conference two weeks ago produced outrage from some legislators who favor budget secrecy and triggered an official inquiry by the Office of the DNI.

But the squabble over the disclosure is doubly odd since the reported $44 billion intelligence spending figure, which would be harmless if accurate, may be incorrect.

"You can read these numbers a lot of different ways," one intelligence official told United Press International. "But I cannot put together any set of budgets in any configuration that comes to that ($44 billion) number."

See "Leak Probe on Intelligence Budget Slip" by Shaun Waterman, UPI, November 14:

It is possible that the actual source of Deputy Director Graham's "disclosure" was a recent Washington Post story.

The 2006 intelligence authorization act "carries about $44 billion for the 15 [intelligence] agencies and Office of the Director of National Intelligence," wrote Walter Pincus in "GOP Senators Look to Shift Spy Management From CIA," Washington Post, October 1, 2005.

The Post figure refers to the 2006 intelligence budget authorization, not the amount of money actually appropriated, which is likely to be different.


Aside from formal secrecy, some intelligence agency budgets are shielded from prying eyes by baroque bookkeeping practices that nearly defy comprehension.

For example, the budget of the US Air Force Air Intelligence Agency was nearly $1.3 billion in 2004, according to a newly disclosed Air Force briefing.

But this total budget figure melded funding streams from multiple external sources, the briefing explained.

"Two-thirds of our funding comes from non-Air Force congressional appropriations," including three National Foreign Intelligence Programs: the Consolidated Cryptologic Program (NSA), the General Defense Intelligence Program (DIA), and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (now NGA).

A copy of the unclassified briefing was provided to Secrecy News by William M. Arkin, who writes the Early Warning blog for the Washington Post.

See "AIA Mission Briefing," Air Intelligence Agency, February 2004 (PowerPoint file):


The Congressional Research Service has updated its accounts of secret sessions of Congress to reflect the secret session of the Senate on November 1 that addressed pre-war intelligence on Iraq.

See "Secret Sessions of Congress: A Brief Historical Overview," updated November 3, 2005:

And "Secret Sessions of the House and Senate," updated November 3, 2005:


Another new Congressional Research Service report considers plans for relocating U.S. military bases abroad, and political developments that might affect those plans.

"Host nations such as South Korea have begun to voice limits on the use of forces based in their country. Uzbekistan, one of the test cases for the new strategy, recently evicted U.S. forces from the base in that Central Asian nation. Some analysts argue this eviction was prompted from Russia and China, who have begun to express concern with U.S. expansion of influence in the region."

See "U.S. Military Overseas Basing: New Developments and Oversight Issues for Congress," October 31, 2005:


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

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