CIA gets growing chunk of $53B ‘black budget’ for intelligence

The CIA has grown to comprise 28 percent of the U.S. intelligence community’s $52.6 billion “black budget,” The Washington Post reported Thursday.


The CIA’s previously undisclosed $14.7 billion budget in 2013 was revealed in classified documents leaked to the Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who is wanted by the U.S. government on espionage charges.

The administration’s 178-page summary of its 2014 budget request for the 16 agencies that make up the intelligence community also provides an assessment of the agencies’ successes, failures and primary objectives.

The United States has disclosed the overall topline for the intelligence community budget since 2007, but a more detailed summary has remained classified.

The Post reported that the CIA’s budget has grown to $14.7 billion, which is nearly 50 percent more than the funding for the National Security Agency.

“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,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said a statement to the Post.

The last time a breakdown of the intelligence community's budget was made public was in 1994, when a subcommittee inadvertently published it, according to the Post.

At the time, the CIA's chunk of the $43.4 billion budget (in 2012 dollars) was just $4.8 billion, while the NSA and National Reconnaissance Office had larger shares.  

The document shows that the CIA and NSA have both launched new “offensive cyber operations” efforts to hack into foreign computer networks.  

It lists five priorities for the intelligence community: combating terrorism, stopping the spread of nuclear and unconventional weapons, warning U.S. leaders about critical events overseas, defending against foreign espionage and conducting cyber operations.

In terms of intelligence, the Post reports that North Korea has proven to be the most difficult government to penetrate. There are five “critical” gaps in U.S. intelligence about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

The Post did not publish the full budget document and withheld some information due to concerns from U.S. officials over the risk to intelligence sources and methods.