Spending by the CIA has surged ahead of all other federal spy agencies, as its almost $15 billion budget for fiscal 2013 vastly exceeded outside estimates, according to new files released by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
A 178-page summary of the National Intelligence Program’s so called “black budget,” provided to the Washington Post by Snowden, highlights spending habits of the 16 spy agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community.
The CIA’s $14.7 billion in requested funding for fiscal 2013 is almost 50 percent more than that of the National Security Agency, which conducts eavesdropping operations and long has been considered the government’s largest spying arm.
The $52.6 billion budget request for all of nation’s spy agencies, as reported in the leaked papers, is not a revelation, as the White House has published overall intelligence spending since 2007.
But the spending figures contradict a belief by many outside intelligence experts that the CIA’s influence had waned significantly in the wake of admitted intelligence lapses prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The Post reported the files provided by Snowden also showed that the CIA and NSA have initiated aggressive new efforts to hack into foreign computer networks to steal information or sabotage enemy systems, embracing what the budget refers to as “offensive cyber operations.”
The files also show the NSA planned to investigate at least 4,000 possible insider threats this year, cases in which the agency suspected that sensitive information may have been compromised by one of its own. The Post reported that the leaked files show that the U.S. intelligence community worried long before Snowden’s leaks about “anomalous behavior” by personnel with access to highly classified material.
White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest on Thursday said President Obama considers the nation’s spying agencies to be vital asset in protecting the country from potential terrorist threats but added the president “does believe that strengthening public confidence in these programs is important to the success of these programs.”
Wire service reports were used in this article.