Classified U.S. Intelligence 'Black Budget' Revealed
Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who blew the lid off of the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programs, has released the U.S. intelligence community’s classified “black budget” for fiscal year 2013. It was published by the Washington Post Thursday.
The 178-budget summary, totaling $52.6 billion, was published as tables and charts due to “sensitive details” in the documents, the Post said. The government had previously released how much it spends every year on intelligence since 2007, but has not made public exactly how those funds are divvied up.
Some of the revelations the Post reported include:
- Spending by the CIA has surpassed all of the other spy agencies. The CIA requested $14.7 billion for 2013. That’s roughly twice that of the NSA.
- The CIA, NSA and National Reconnaissance Office receive the bulk of the funding—68%.
- There funding is based on five mission objectives: Warning U.S. leaders about critical events ($20.1 billion), Combating terrorism ($17.2 billion), Stopping the spread of illicit weapons ($6.7 billion), conducting cyber operations ($4.3 billion) and defending against foreign espionage ($3.8 billion).
- The CIA and NSA have beefed up efforts to hack into foreign computer networks. The budget refers to this as “offensive cyber operations.”
- The NSA planned on looking into a whopping 4,000 possible “insider” threats this year, in which one of its own employees was suspected of compromising top-secret information.
- Pakistan is described as an “intractable target.” Meanwhile, there are counterintelligence operations “strategically focused against [the] priority targets of China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, and Israel.”
- There are ongoing, expanded efforts to collect information on Russia’s chemical warfare countermeasures. There are also efforts to look into the security of biological and chemical labs in Pakistan.
- Details about the U.S. raid to kill Osama bin Laden were revealed. According to the Post, the budget points to the operation as an example of cooperation among the intelligence agencies and reveals the raid was “guided from space by a fleet of satellites which aimed dozens of separate receivers over Pakistan to collect a torrent of electronic and signals intelligence as the mission unfolded.”
- “Blind spots” the agencies wish they more information about are acknowledged in the budget, although the document says there has been “moderate” progress on some, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement. Other blind spots include Pakistan’s nuclear program, what China’s next generation fighter aircrafts are capable of, and how Russian authorities are likely to respond in the event of a terrorist attack. The paper reported that there are what it called five “critical gaps” for North Korea—the most in comparison to other countries that “has or is pursuing” a nuclear bomb.