The amount spent by U.S. government agencies to classify information rose $1.2 billion to $11.36 billion last year, but the estimate leaves out key intelligence operations.The Information Security Oversight Office’s (ISOO) 2011 cost report discloses a 12 per cent increase from 2010 for the security classification systems of 41 executive branch agencies, including the Department of defence (DoD).
But the report did not tally money spent by some of the most secretive government agencies like Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the defence Intelligence Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Security Agency (NSA).
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.”
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 centre in Utah.
The double-digit increase in what was disclosed of total security classification may have had to do with WikiLeaks — the anti-secrecy group began disclosing hundreds of thousands classified U.S. documents beginning with “Collateral Murder” in April 2010.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is currently seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy because he fears that his extradition to Sweden for preliminary questioning in a sexual assault investigation will lead to him being extradited to the U.S. over the classified disclosures.
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