Trump administration requests nearly $86B for spy budget

Trump administration requests nearly $86B for spy budget
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The Trump administration wants nearly $86 billion for its intelligence programs in fiscal 2020, a 6 percent jump from last year.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Monday revealed that the administration wants $62.8 billion for its U.S. intelligence agencies, while the Pentagon released its $22.95 billion request for its military intelligence program (MIP).

Details of the so-called black budget are secret, but the funds cover a range of expenses including spy planes and satellites, intelligence gathering through spies and informants, and cyber weapons.

The higher request comes despite the fact that President Trump has had a contentious relationship with his intelligence agencies since taking office.

Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel and FBI Director Christopher Wray made headlines in January with their congressional testimony on global threats, in particular because their statements appeared to conflict with Trump’s policy agenda.

The U.S. intelligence community’s threat assessment found that Iran was not developing nuclear weapons, that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) still remained a significant threat in Syria and that North Korea is unlikely to denuclearize — conclusions that aren’t aligned with Trump’s foreign policy remarks.

Trump initially lashed out at the intelligence chiefs over their testimony, tweeting that he would be proven right and that they “should go back to school!”

The Defense Department’s request, meanwhile, includes base budget funding as well as the war fund known as the overseas contingency operations accounts, according to a Pentagon statement.

“The department determined that releasing this top-line figure does not jeopardize any classified activities within the MIP,” the statement noted. “No other MIP budget figures or program details will be released, as they remain classified for national security reasons.”

This is the fifth straight year the Pentagon's MIP request has increased. For fiscal 2019 the department requested $21.2 billion, in fiscal 2018 it was $20.7 billion, $18.5 billion in fiscal 2017 and $17.7 billion in fiscal 2016.

The MIP pays for defense intelligence activities and systems including secret military operations, intelligence gathering, spy planes and drones.