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The $258 of Intelligence You Bought This Year

Congratulations to Steven Aftergood, whose persistent efforts to get the government to reveal the topline intelligence budget have finally paid off. Yesterday, the government officially announced that it spent $80.1 billion on intelligence in the last year, up 7% in just the last year and 100% since 9/11.

The government announced Thursday that it had spent $80.1 billion on intelligence activities over the past 12 months, disclosing for the first time not only the amount spent by civilian intelligence agencies but also by the military.

The so-called National Intelligence Program, run by the CIA and other agencies that report to the Director of National Intelligence, cost $53.1 billion in fiscal 2010, which ended Sept. 30, while the Military Intelligence Program cost an additional $27 billion.


The disclosure Thursday that intelligence spending had risen to $80.1 billion, an increase of nearly 7 percent over the year before and a record high, led to immediate calls for fiscal restraint on Capitol Hill.

That’s $258 a year for every man, woman, and child in this country. $21 a month per person, or $86 for a family of four.

But don’t worry; I’m sure all the people losing their homes and relying on food stamps can afford that much intelligence. Think of it like a second phone bill–that’s undoubtedly where at least a chunk of that money is going.

In response to this admission, both DiFi and Silvestre Reyes issued statements promising improved fiscal oversight of the intelligence community. That’s great! They can have the phone companies fight over the right to get paid handsomely to spy on us!

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