U.S. secret intelligence budget is $52.6 billion: Edward Snowden

The United States federal government publishes annual information regarding the level of intelligence spending since 2007, but it regularly refuses to release any additional information, such as what it uses the funds for or how it carries out the objective of the president or congress.

This week, the Washington Post obtained documents from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden and reported that the spy network’s “black budget” for the fiscal year 2013 is $52.6 billion, according to a 178-page summary for the National Intelligence Program.

Snowden has been able to successfully release information regarding the spy agencies’ bureaucratic and operational background, including its failures, accomplishments and objectives of the 16 spy agencies that are composed of more than 100,000 employees. In addition, the summary covers what kinds of technologies are used, how it recruits agents and the current operations.

When it comes to finances, the CIA has requested more funding than any other spy agency in this fiscal year, which is $14.7 billion. Previous estimates have been quite less than what the report says and about more than half of what the National Security Agency (NSA) receives.

Non-monetary findings include the CIA and NSA attacking international computer networks to steal information or sabotage “enemy systems,” terrorism still remains the No. 1 threat to national security, it considers the Chinese, Iranian and Russian governments the most difficult to gain access to and intelligence officials regularly monitor both friends and foes.

The news outlet was open to its readers that it couldn’t publish any more information after it sought consultation with U.S. intelligence officials, who had mentioned their concerns as to what information would be leaked and what would be kept confidential.

“The United States has made a considerable investment in the Intelligence Community since the terror attacks of 9/11, a time which includes wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Arab Spring, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction technology, and asymmetric threats in such areas as cyber-warfare,” wrote James R. Clapper, Jr., in a response to the Post.

“Our budgets are classified as they could provide insight for foreign intelligence services to discern our top national priorities, capabilities and sources and methods that allow us to obtain information to counter threats.”

In the private sector, meanwhile, it was recently reported that there has been tremendous investment capital flooding into the cybersecurity market because of the revelations made public by Snowden. Due to privacy concerns and demands, many companies are making substantial investments after numerous venture capitalists have put money into several companies.

Snowden is temporarily in Russia.

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