Declassifying The CIA Budget p.9

By: Debra Gersh Hernandez WHILE THE COUNCIL on Foreign Relations was taking away with one hand, it was giving with another.
The report was blasted for recommending that the CIA rethink its use of certain nonofficial covers, but little mention was made of the fact that the CFR also suggested the CIA declassify its budget.
The aggregate intelligence budget, known as one of Washington's worst-kept secrets, is believed to be approximately $28 billion, with about $3 billion going to the CIA, the CFR estimated.
"Annual funding for the intelligence community should be declassified, as should information on basic elements of the intelligence program," the CFR report recommended, noting, however, that "large areas of spending will need to remain classified to protect sensitive undertakings and to avoid discouraging other intelligence services from working with the United States."
The idea of declassifying the intelligence budget ? or at least providing one aggregate figure ? was explored in 1994 congressional hearings.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence heard from those who supported releasing the information, as well as those who warned against it. Committee members appeared divided along party lines (E&P, March 5, 1994, p. 12).
Among the former CIA directors testifying, only Adm. Stansfield Turner supported release of the information.
"Intelligence has to stand up to the same scrutiny" as other budget items, Turner testified, noting that the American taxpayers have a right to know what they're getting for their money.
R. James Woolsey, who was CIA director at the time, told the committee that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to defend specifics of the intelligence budget in public "without running the danger of revealing sources and methods which, in turn, could damage our relations" with other intelligence agencies around the world.


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