Spying, Lying, Assassinating, Bribing
U.S. “Intelligence” Spending: A Whale of a Bad Joke
by Robert Higgs
The government has announced that total spending on “intelligence activities” in fiscal year 2010 was $80.1 billion. According to a report in the Washington Post,
The National Intelligence Program, run by the CIA and other agencies that report to the Director of National Intelligence, cost $53.1 billion in fiscal 2010, which ended Sept. 30, while the Military Intelligence Program cost an additional $27 billion.
Although this is the first time that the total amount has been made public, analysts have long pegged it with fair accuracy. Of course, this species of spending is now at an all-time high. Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, affirms that it is also more than twice the amount spent in 2001. It increased 7 percent in the past year alone.
In recent years, we have become accustomed to reading reports of enormous government spending – billions, trillions, gazillions. These numbers mean practically nothing to ordinary people. Out here in peasant-land, we have trouble enough in trying to figure out how we’ll pay a $400 bill for the electricity used in August.
So, let’s try to bring the “intelligence” spending into comprehensible focus by using a little arithmetic and asking a few questions.