Friday 30 August 2013

The CIA's Black Budget

Leaked 'Black Budget' Show How The CIA Progressed From Spy Agency To Paramilitary Force
Michael Kelly

30 August, 2013

The Washington Post has published the U.S. intelligence community’s 2013 ‘Black Budget,’ which it obtained from Edward Snowden, and it provides anunprecedented view into CIA funding since 9/11.

Barton Gellman and Greg Miller of the Post report that the U.S. has spent more than $US500 billion on intelligence since September 11, 2001, and during that time it transformed “a spy service struggling to emerge from the Cold War into a paramilitary force.”

To accomplish that, a surge in CIA resources “funded secret prisons, a controversial interrogation program, the deployment of lethal drones and a huge expansion of its counterterrorism center,” according to the Post.

At the same time the agency built a “Global Response Staff,” which hired former U.S. commandos and began collaborating with U.S. Special Operations teams on capture/kill missions in addition to training and deploying a 3,000-member Afghan paramilitary force.

Gellman and Miller note that the Agency’s increasingly dominant slice of intelligence community’s (IC) $US52.6 billion budget over the last 12 years “will likely stun outside experts.”

Here are some of the more striking numbers from the Post and the budget:
  • The CIA workforce has grown from about 17,000 10 years ago to 21,575 this year.
  • In 2013 U.S. spy agencies were projected to spend $US4.9 billion on “overseas contingency operations” — such as operations in Iraq and Afghanistan — and the CIA accounted for roughly half of that sum.
  • The CIA requested $US14.7 billion in total funding for 2013, which is 28% of the total IC budget and $US4.2 billion more than the NSA.
  • In 1994, the only other time Black Budget information was leaked, the CIA accounted for just $US4.8 billion of a budget that totaled $US43.4 billion in 2012 dollars (i.e., 11% of the IC budget).

Here’s a breakdown of where CIA funding currently goes:

The Post notes that there is no specific entry for the CIA’s fleet of armed drones in the budget summary, but more than $US2.6 billion is provided for “covert action programs” that would include “drone operations in Pakistan and Yemen, payments to militias in Afghanistan and Africa, and attempts to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program.”

Gregory Johnson, a journalist who covers America’s secret drone war in Yemen, summed up the overarching implications of the Black Budget revelations:

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