Thu August 29, 2013
Report: Spy Agencies' 'Black Budget' Reveals Intelligence Gaps
The Washington Post on Thursday reports on U.S. spy agencies' $52.6 billion secret budget for fiscal year 2013, a document that reveals significant "blind spots" obscuring the intentions and motives of U.S. friends and foes alike.
In the first of a package of stories expected out Thursday, the newspaper says that the 'black budget' blueprint, obtained from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, "maps a bureaucratic and operational landscape" that "details the successes, failures and objectives of 16 spy agencies", including the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, the FBI and others.
It's a laundry list of "known unknowns" that reveal some of the strategic thinking and concerns of U.S. intelligence agencies and policymakers. Here are some highlights from the report:
-- The CIA's $14.7 billion budget is roughly twice that of the NSA.
-- The NSA planned to investigate 4,000 possible "insider" threats in 2013 in which one of its own was suspected of compromising sensitive information.
-- Pakistan is described as an "intractable target" and counterintelligence operations "are strategically focused against [the] priority targets of China, Russia, Iran, Cuba and Israel."
-- In 2011, the budget assessment says some progress had been made on 38 of 50 "blind spots" ranging from knowledge of the workings of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement to the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, the capabilities of China's next-generation fighter jet and how the Russian leadership might react "to potentially destabilizing events in Moscow, such as large protests and terrorist attacks."
According to the Post:
"The documents describe expanded efforts to "collect on Russian chemical warfare countermeasures" and assess the security of biological and chemical laboratories in Pakistan.
View select pages from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's top-secret 2013 budget with key sections annotated by The Washington Post.
A table of "critical" gaps listed five for North Korea, more than for any other country that has or is pursuing a nuclear bomb.
The intelligence community seems particularly daunted by the emergence of "home grown" terrorists who plan attacks in the United States without direct support or instruction from abroad, a threat realized this year, after the budget was submitted, in twin bombings at the Boston Marathon."