Tuesday Jul 03, 201211:56 PM GMT
Cost to protect US secrets doubles to over $11 Billion
Tue Jul 3, 2012 11:55PM
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It's not cheap keeping the vast number of secrets the U.S. government does. These days, Uncle Sam spends a whopping $11 billion guarding classified info, twice what it spent a decade ago, the New York Times reports -- and that's just the secrets it will tell us about. The total doesn't include any CIA or NSA spending because their budgets are, naturally, classified. The head of Information Security Oversight says that spending would boost the total by around 20%.


The figure is so high in part because of the explosion of security clearances in the wake of 9/11, which detractors said has led to reams of mundane-yet-classified information, and in part because of Cold War-era secrets that are still classified decades later-and which the government still goes to court to protect. "We are classifying far too much information," says one anti-secrecy advocate. "The credibility of the classification system is collapsing under the weight of bogus secrets." Newser




John Fitzpatrick, head of the Information Security Oversight Office, which oversees the government's classification effort and released the annual report, said that adding the excluded agencies would increase the spending total by ''less than 20 percent.'' That suggests that the real total may be about $13 billion, more than the entire annual budget of the Environmental Protection Agency. smh.com.au


The costs include investigations of people applying for security clearances, equipment such as safes and special computer gear, training for government personnel, and salaries. smh.com.au


In 2011 Congress appropriated $54.6 billion for the government's 16 intelligence agencies, which was an increase over the previous two years, according to Andrea Stone of the Huffington Post.


But that number doesn't seem to even begin to quantify how much is spent on secrecy as it doesn't include the Pentagon's $51 billion "black budget." businessinsider.com


And like the CIA, the NSA's activities and budget are kept secret. What is known is that the NSA intercepts 1.7 billion U.S. electronic communications every day and is currently undertaking a $2 billion, 1.8-million-square-foot expansion of its headquarters in Fort Meade, Md., in addition to building a $2 billion, a one-million-square-foot data collection center in Utah. businessinsider.com


Spending on secrecy has increased steadily for more than a decade, driven in part by the expanding counterterrorism programs after the 2001 terrorist attacks but also by the continuing protection of Cold War secrets dating back decades. The total cost for 2001 was $4.7 billion, the oversight office said. smh.com.au



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