$43.5 Billion Spying Budget for Year, Not Including Military


Published: October 31, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 — Congress authorized spending of $43.5 billion over the past year to operate spy satellites, remote surveillance stations and C.I.A. outposts overseas, according to a budget figure released Tuesday by Mike McConnell, director of national intelligence.

Government officials have refused for years to disclose the intelligence budget, citing risks to national security if the United States’ adversaries learned what it spent annually on spy services.

But lawmakers, acting on a recommendation by the Sept. 11 commission, pushed a law through Congress this summer requiring that the director of national intelligence reveal the spending authorization figure within 30 days after the close of the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.

The number released Tuesday does not include the billions of dollars that military services spend annually on intelligence operations. The total spying budget for the last fiscal year, including this Pentagon spending, is said to have been in excess of $50 billion.

The figure Mr. McConnell released, known as the National Intelligence Program, covers some of the most expensive spy programs, including the fleet of satellites run by the National Reconnaissance Office. It also includes the budgets for the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, charged with electronic eavesdropping.

Last year, John D. Negroponte, then the director of national intelligence, revealed another secret of the spy world that was once closely guarded: he announced that the work force in the nation’s 16 intelligence agencies numbered nearly 100,000.

The intelligence budget has twice before been made public: in 1997 and 1998, the C.I.A. disclosed that its budget was $26.6 billion and $26.7 billion, respectively. But since the Sept. 11 attacks the Bush administration has refused to make similar disclosures, fighting legal challenges from several advocacy groups.

In late 2005, a senior intelligence official attending a public conference in San Antonio revealed, apparently by accident, that the intelligence budget for that year was $44 billion.

In a press release on Tuesday, Mr. McConnell’s office said no further details about the annual intelligence budget would be revealed “because such disclosures could harm national security.”

Senator Christopher S. Bond, Republican of Missouri and vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said, “The American people have a right to know how and where the government is spending their money.”