Spies ask for increase in ‘black budget’

The Obama administration asked for Congress to fund federal intelligence agencies $3 billion more in 2017 than it did last year.

In its $4.1 trillion budget request on Tuesday, the administration included $53.5 billion to be spread across the 17 agencies funded under the National Intelligence Program, an umbrella funding system. 

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The budget “reflects the reality that world events and the pace of technological change continue to challenge our national security posture and policies, requiring an ongoing effort to develop and adjust strategies to deal with evolving and emerging threats,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a fact sheet released with the budget request. 

The $53.3 billion request is $400 million less than the Obama administration requested last year, but a full $3 billion more than it was given in fiscal 2015.

Details about how the government breaks down money between agencies in the so-called “black budget” are kept secret.

However, the intelligence office claimed that it was dedicated to saving money by focusing on programs “that have the most impact and highest priority.”

Classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden have shown that, in 2013, the largest share of the “black budget” went to the CIA, followed by the National Security Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office.