US intelligence agencies' 'black budget' revealed in new report


A highly classified summary of nation's intelligence budget leaked by Edward Snowden reveals that the CIA receives the lion's share of funding out of 16 agencies.


Sean Gallup

Though American intelligence agencies have released overall spending figures every year since 2007, they have not released exactly how that money has been spent.

On Thursday, The Washington Post revealed the United States' intelligence community's so-called "black budget," which helps to fill in those blanks.

The $52.6 billion budget for the year 2013 was obtained by the newspaper from documents leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

The Post said that the budget "maps a bureaucratic and operational landscape that has never been subject to public scrutiny."

With the breakdown of intelligence spending come the perception and objectives of the US spy community.

Not surprisingly terrorism played a central role.

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The Atlantic pointed out, however, that the breakdown still remained extremely vague.

The budget showed that 78 percent of the CIA's budget was "collections and operations" and that the agency received the vast majority of government funding.

The CIA requested $14.7 billion in 2013, double the amount of the NSA. The NSA has historically commanded a greater share of the budget as it was responsible for spy satellites but that has changed in recent years.

The Washington Post noted that the spying budget of the US is approaching Cold War levels. The newspaper mapped out the findings in 11 charts here.

When adjusted for inflation, the intelligence budget was twice the size of that in 2001 and one quarter more than in 2006.

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The Post pointed out that the newly revealed black budget shows that the US has focused heavily on hacking foreign computer networks and stealing information.

It also showed that the NSA investigated 4,000 insiders leaks in 2013 alone, tracking "anomalous behavior" of those with access to highly classified documents.

China, Russia, Pakistan, Cuba, Iran and Israel were targets of counterintelligence operations. North Korea was considered the most difficult country to track and there were major gaps in knowledge about the country's nuclear program.

The US spent more than $500 billion on intelligence since the attacks in September 2001, according to the budget.

It is worth noting that the defense budget is more than 10 times the budget of all 16 intelligence agencies combined.

The budget revelations are part of mounting information on the size and scope of the US intelligence community since Edward Snowden leaked secret documents to the Washington Post and Guardian newspapers.

Earlier in the week, documents revealed that the United States spied on the United Nations to the dismay of US allies.

Also, the documents revealed that US intelligence agencies had collected tens of thousands of emails by US citizens, which authorities said was unintentional.