The U.S. government has majorly increased spending on surveillance programs, surpassing the levels seen during the Cold War. The CIA, which has been criticized in the years following 9/11, however, seems to be taking home the most of thismoney.
Former NSA-contractor Edward Snowden leaked the latest of his collection of secret government documents to the Washington Post today — a “black budget” that shows just how much each intelligence agency spends. In 2013 alone, the government plans to spend $52.6 billion on intelligence agencies, 68 percent of which goes to the CIA, NSA, and National Reconnaissance Office.
In the years following the attacks on 9/11, the CIA has been criticized for missing key intelligence information that may have prevented the attacks and other situations. But it seems the CIA is still getting over $14 billion in funding from the government — the most out of any intelligence agency.
So, where does all that money go? Put all together, the intelligence agencies are looking to do five different things:
- Warn leaders about “critical events”
- Combat that terrorism
- Stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction
- Perform cyberoperations
- Defend against state-sponsored espionage
Within those goals, there are 32 different kinds of expenses. On data analysis alone, the government spends $4.6 billion. Computer network operations costs around $1.7 billion, another $1.2 billion goes toward counterintelligence efforts, and $1 billion covers “crpytanalysis and exploitation services.”
Geospatial intelligence collection together costs around $4.6 billion.
Beyond the numbers, the leaked budget also mentioned a number of different technological tactics that these agencies use to collect foreign intelligence, and no, it’s not just the “hacking” people think is going on. It seems the United States has sensors set up around North Korea in order to detect seismic activity that may result from nuclear testing. Maybe even more impressive are the drones that fly over locations suspected to hold al-Qaeda operatives. They’re outfitted with biometric sensors, meaning our drones may be smart enough to tell who you are soon, decreasing the likelihood of civilian death.