Mt. Vernon Register-News

CNHI Special Projects

August 29, 2013

US spying successes, failures, objectives detailed in top secret 'black budget'

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

During the past decade, they have taken a back seat to the CIA.

NSA was in line to receive $10.5 billion in 2013, and the NRO was to get $10.3 billion — both far below the CIA, whose share had surged to 28 percent of the total budget.

Overall, the U.S. government spends 10 times as much on Department of Defense as it does on spy agencies.

"Today's world is as fluid and unstable as it has been in the past half century," Clapper said in his statement to The Post. "Even with stepped up spending on the IC over the past decade, the United States currently spends less than one percent of GDP on the Intelligence Community."

The CIA's dominant position will likely stun outside experts. It represents a remarkable recovery for an agency that seemed poised to lose power and prestige after acknowledging intelligence failures leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

The surge in resources for the agency funded secret prisons, a controversial interrogation program, the deployment of lethal drones and a huge expansion of its counterterrorism center. The agency was transformed from a spy service struggling to emerge from the Cold War into a paramilitary force.

The CIA has devoted billions of dollars to recruiting and training a new generation of case officers, with the workforce growing from about 17,000 a decade ago to 21,575 this year.

The agency's budget allocates $2.3 billion for human intelligence operations, and another $2.5 billion to cover the cost of supporting the security, logistics and other needs of those missions around the world. A relatively small amount of that total, $68.6 million, was earmarked for creating and maintaining "cover," the false identities employed by operatives overseas.

There is no specific entry for the CIA's fleet of armed drones in the budget summary, but a broad line item hints at the dimensions of the agency's expanded paramilitary role, providing more than $2.6 billion 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.

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